Cheers to NBAMate reader Braydon for the heads up on this one. Just when we started to get excited about Patty Mills’ imminent return to the NBA, there’s this: Mills has been assigned to the the Idaho Stampede, the Trailblazers D-League affiliate.

The Blazers also waived former Stampede forward Anthony Tolliver, who will rejoin Idaho.

“We are very excited to welcome Anthony back as well as have a player of Patty Mills’ character join our team,” said Idaho Stampede coach Bob MacKinnon. “It is an honor for our organization that the Trail Blazers will send us one of their team members. I think our fans in the Treasure Valley will really enjoy watching as these added players really put a little more fuel in our tank.”

As the link states, log onto to watch all of the Stampede’s games live, online, for free.

Completing the full picture is the Blazers signing of Shavlik Randolph. According to Blazers Edge, Shavlik is “the most skilled big man on the market once the Miami Heat waived him” and “can step in and play immediately and hold his own on both ends”.

So while it’s disappointing for Mills fans to see him relegated to the D-League, its a totally understandable move made by the Blazers, considering their recent string of injuries to big men. On the plus side, Patty is bound to get significant minutes for the Stampede, minutes he will need after being out of action for so long while rehabbing his foot. In one sense, it’s actually the perfect situation for Patty who otherwise would be sitting four point-guards deep on the bench, getting scrap minutes (if any) without the opportunity to showcase his full talents.

The other major bonus is that plenty of NBA scouts will get to see Patty in D-League action, and if there doesn’t appear to be a future (i.e. roster spot) for Mills in Portland, he might get shipped to someone who does want him.

The D-League certainly isn’t a death-sentence. Plenty of players have re-surfaced to the NBA (our own Nathan Jawai being one), and I have no doubt that a player of Patty’s caliber will thrive and prove he’s NBA-worthy.

There’s only one thing left to say.. GO IDAHO!

UPDATE: Mookie (an Aussie Blazers fan) over at A Stern Warning adds his thoughts to Patty’s move

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