NBA COVID fallout: Lance Stephenson (Pacers), Stanley Johnson (Lakers) among players signing 10-day contracts

With the omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading at shocking speed, the NBA and the players union have agreed to new rules aimed at helping teams field fuller rosters and helping the league avoid postponements. Teams are permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and teams are required to sign at least one replacement player if two test positive, at least two replacement players if three test positive and at least three if four or more test positive, per ESPN. (For a game to be played, both teams must have eight available players.)

The new rules, which will be in effect until Jan. 19, stipulate that replacement players’ salaries will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax. When a team has multiple COVID cases on its roster and must sign a replacement, the player must be available by the beginning of its next game.

More than 100 players have signed 10-day contracts, thanks to this new hardship allowance. Isaiah Thomas made his Dallas Mavericks debut last Wednesday, after a short stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, but entered health and safety protocols the next day. Lance Stephenson, briefly Thomas’ teammate with the Grand Rapids Gold, is once again a member of the Indiana Pacers after spending 10 days with the Atlanta Hawks.

Another unlikely reunion: Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat. The two-time champion has taken his talents back to South Beach after globetrotting from Italy to Greece to Puerto Rico. Chalmers, who had last appeared in an NBA game in 2018 with the Memphis Grizzlies, was called up from — you guessed it! — Grand Rapids. 

While most of these emergency signings are just that, in a few cases they’ve led to something bigger. Bismack Biyombo will reportedly sign a rest-of-season contract with the Phoenix Suns after a pair of strong performances on a 10-day. Previously, Alfonzo McKinnie played his way into a standard contract with the Chicago Bulls and Quinndary Weatherspoon earned a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

As of Jan. 5, conventional 10-day contracts — i.e. ones that do not require the hardship allowance — can be signed. These are the deals that Stanley Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) and Ryan Arcidiacano (New York Knicks) signed on Thursday. After working himself into the Lakers’ starting lineup, Johnson was in limbo for a few days, as they did not have access to a hardship exception when his 10-day contract expired on Monday. Arcidiacano was in the same boat, having signed a hardship deal on Monday, only to see it voided because two Knicks had cleared protocols. 

If you’re having trouble keeping track of who has gone where, here is a team-by-team list of players who are on 10-day contracts, along with the date they signed (or, in some cases, the day the signing was reported):

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Atlanta Hawks

Chris Clemons (Dec. 29)
Cam Oliver (Dec. 29)
Justin Tillman (Dec. 28)

Brooklyn Nets

Shaquille Harrison (Dec. 29; second 10-day)

Chicago Bulls

Mac McClung (Jan 1; second 10-day)Jordan Bell (Dec. 30)

Cleveland Cavaliers

Brandon Goodwin (Dec. 31)Malik Newman (Dec. 29)

Dallas Mavericks

Marquese Chriss (Dec. 31; second 10-day)
Theo Pinson (Dec. 31; second 10-day)Isaiah Thomas (Dec. 29)

Denver Nuggets

Carlik Jones (Jan. 1)Rayjon Tucker (Dec. 31)
Davon Reed (Dec. 30; third 10-day)

Detroit Pistons

Jaysean Paige (Dec. 31)
Micah Potter (Dec. 29)Trayvon Palmer (Dec. 28)Justin Robinson (Dec. 28)

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

Justin Anderson (Jan. 1)Lance Stephenson (Jan. 1)Ahmad Caver (Dec. 31)Nate Hinton (Dec. 30)

Los Angeles Clippers

Xavier Moon (Jan. 4; second 10-day)Wenyen Gabriel (Dec. 31)

Los Angeles Lakers

Stanley Johnson (Jan. 6; second 10-day)

Memphis Grizzlies

Jon Teske (Jan. 3)DaQuan Jeffries (Jan. 1)Dakota Mathias (Dec. 30)

Miami Heat

Mario Chalmers (Dec. 31)Chris Silva (Dec. 31) Nik Stauskas (Dec. 31)
Kyle Guy (Dec. 30)
Haywood Highsmith (Dec. 30)Aric Holman (Dec. 30)

Milwaukee Bucks

Langston Galloway (reported Jan. 6)Luke Kornet (Jan. 3)

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Ryan Arcidiacano (Jan. 6)Damyean Dotson (Dec. 31; second 10-day)Matt Mooney (Dec. 31; second 10-day)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Tim Frazier (Dec. 31; second 10-day)Freddie Gillespie (Dec. 31; second 10-day)

Philadelphia 76ers

Braxton Key (Jan. 5)Charlie Brown Jr. (Jan. 3)

Phoenix Suns

Justin Jackson (Jan. 4)Paris Bass (Dec. 31)
MJ Walker (Dec. 30)

Portland Trail Blazers

San Antonio Spurs

Tyler Johnson (reported Jan. 6)Anthony Lamb (reported Jan. 6)Jaylen Morris (Jan. 1)

Utah Jazz

Danuel House Jr. (Jan. 6)

Washington Wizards

Greg Monroe (Jan. 6)Tremont Waters (Jan. 1)Jaime Echenique (Dec. 30)
Brad Wanamaker (Dec. 29)Alize Johnson (Dec. 28)Craig Sword (Dec. 28)


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