The NBA had to look for a solution to the casualties due to coronavirus and found it: day laborers. Players who sign for just over a week and cover the sick. Most of them are ex-NBA who had another life, but fate gave them a video game opportunity.
The NBA season 2021-22 is weathering the storm caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The season continues despite the fact that some days the number of players included in the health and safety protocols against the virus has reached a daily record.
The league allowed contracts of 10 days and that those salaries did not count towards the salary limit of the franchises. Anything to avoid postponements of matches and the collapse of the competition, even if this would cause lineups that are difficult to recognize and results sometimes distorted by absences.
The 10-day contracts signed in December have been more than 100. With so many day laborers, the number of players who have played a game this season now rises to 572. It is the record in NBA season history, exceeding the previous number by 32. It will continue to increase as long as the shoots do not stop. And it will lead to surreal situations like those that have already been experienced with some emergency signings.
? OFFICIAL: We've signed center Jaime Echenique to a 10-day contract via the NBA Hardship Exception provisions. #DCAboveAll
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 30, 2021
The transfer urges have been such to bring together the eight players needed to take to the court that, as a general manager confessed to journalist John Hollinger (The Athletic), “a team has signed a player without knowing who he is. And It is not the only case“.
Perhaps it was Aric Holman, a 24-year-old, 2.08-meter center, claimed by the Miami Heat. The main reason for signing him was that he was close. Those from Miami, with a very diminished squad, had to play in San Antonio and he was with the Austin Spurs. Only an hour and a half by car. The game was postponed, but Holman had already signed his contract for 10 days.
The Miami Heat are signing C Aric Holman of the G-League Austin Spurs to a 10-day hardship deal, sources tell ESPN. His best attribute today? Driving distance. He's on his way to San Antonio to meet the Heat and help them have 8 active players to avoid a postponement vs. Spurs.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 29, 2021
In the case of Greg Monroe, total ignorance of the environment was demonstrated. The pivot, with 635 games in the NBA Season, had not played in it since the 18-19 season. After a gray stint in the Euroleague (Bayern and Khimki), he trained with the Washington Wizards linked team in the G League. He was claimed by the Timberwolves and he flew to Minnesota just in time to meet the Boston Celtics.
Before the game, they asked coach Chris Finch if he was going to play a lot. “No idea. I’ll have to ask him. I just met him half an hour ago,” he replied. One of the best of that meeting was Jaylen Nowell, who scored 29 points. After the win, Finch was sincere:
“He has played marvelously, but I’m not going to lie: I didn’t know who he was.”
He wasn’t the only veteran to make it to the NBA after a long time.
“I’m not going to lie. My immediate reaction is that I didn’t believe it. I thought my agent was joking with me”
who has returned to the Heat, with whom he won two rings (2012 and 2013) as the starting point guard. of that team of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. At 35, he returns after leaving the League in 2018 and going through Italy, Greece, Puerto Rico and the G League.
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— Bally Sports Sun: HEAT (@BallyHEAT) December 31, 2021
Even more striking is the return of Joe Johnson, who has played a game with the Celtics, the same team that drafted him in 2001. He was 20 years old then and is now 40. And the controversial Lance Stephenson, after playing six games with Atlanta Hawks he has just committed to the Indiana Pacers, the team in which he debuted in the NBA in the 2010/11 academic year and with which he will live a third stage.
There is also Isaiah Thomas, who has been haunted by injuries and for whom the doors of the NBA seemed closed. The Los Angeles Lakers signed him for 10 days and he played four games at an acceptable level. They did not renew his contract, but the Dallas Mavericks did call him urgently. He rushed to Sacramento to debut with them against the Kings, but the next morning he went into health protocols. The same had happened to Brandon Knight, another day laborer engaged to Dallas.
Isaiah Thomas the Maverick pic.twitter.com/VE07lyTH5x
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 30, 2021
These are just a few strange cases that have occurred since the outbreaks of coronavirus began that have put the NBA in check, but that have served to keep the competition going. Another thing is that in recent days it has resembled what it was and that fans are having a hard time identifying with those who for some days are wearing their team’s jersey.
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