Rising COVID-19 cases around the NBA are prompting clubs to take unconventional measures to fill out rosters.
On Wednesday, 40-year-old "Iso Joe" Johnson got actual minutes on an NBA floor in 2021. And on Thursday, Javin DeLaurier became the first player to have played for a Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) franchise to be signed by an NBA club.
The Milwaukee Bucks announced Thursday they have signed the 6-foot-10 forward/centre to a 10-day contract under the COVID-related hardship allowance.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 23, 2021
In March 2021, the undrafted Duke product was signed by the CEBL's Niagara River Lions. In 11 games with the club, he averaged 14.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.
The River Lions finished with a 10-4 record, advancing to the CEBL Championship game, where they fell to the Edmonton Sting. DeLaurier was named to the All-CEBL First team.
After the CEBL season, the 23-year-old made his way back across the border and participated in the 2021 NBA Summer League. In September, he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks NBA G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.
In 12 games this season with the Herd, DeLaurier has averaged 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17.0 minutes, shooting 60 per cent from the field. DeLaurier appeared in seven games for the Greensboro Swarm, the Charlotte Hornets G league affiliate, in 2020.
“We are incredibly happy for Javin as he signs his contract today, becoming the first CEBL player to move on to the NBA,” said Mike Morreale, CEO and commissioner of the CEBL, said in a release. “As a league, we celebrate Javin’s achievements and thank him for making our league a stop along his basketball journey. We can’t wait to tune in.”
The CEBL currently has seven players on NBA G League rosters.
The Bucks are third in the East with 20-13 record; they play the Dallas Mavericks (15-15) Thursday night.