Rising cases of COVID-19 in the NBA are prompting clubs to take unconventional steps to fill rosters.
On Wednesday, 40-year-old “Iso Joe” Johnson earned actual minutes on an NBA court in 2021. And on Thursday, Javin DeLaurier became the first player to play for an elite Canadian Basketball League (CEBL) franchise. ) to be signed by an NBA club.
The Milwaukee Bucks announced Thursday that they have signed the 6-foot-10 forward/center to a 10-day contract as part of COVID hardship compensation.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 23, 2021
In March 2021, the undrafted Duke product was signed by the CEBL 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 crossed the border again and competed in the 2021 NBA Summer League. In September, he signed a contract with Milwaukee Bucks NBA G League affiliate Wisconsin Herd.
In 12 games this season with the Herd, DeLaurier averaged 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17.0 minutes, shooting 60% 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 join the NBA,” CEBL CEO and Commissioner Mike Morreale said in a statement. “As a league, we celebrate Javin’s accomplishments and thank him for making our league a step in his basketball journey. We look forward to connecting.
CEBL currently has seven players on NBA G League rosters.
The Bucks are third in the East with a 20-13 record; they face the Dallas Mavericks (15-15) Thursday night.