EXCLUSIVE: Mario Chalmers wants to prove himself to Clippers, NBA teams with training camp deal following BIG3 season
LOS ANGELES, CA – Fresh off of his first season with Ice Cube’s BIG3 League, former NBA point guard Mario Chalmers is looking to make his return to the NBA.
“Yeah, I’m definitely still looking,” Chalmers told ClutchPoints in a 1-on-1 following the BIG3 championship game in Los Angeles. “I haven’t worked out with anybody, but I’m definitely still looking to get back there.”
Chalmers wrapped up his first year with the 3 Headed Monsters, averaging 10.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists across eight games. For those unfamiliar with the BIG3 League, it’s a half-court, 3-on-3 game, and first to reach 50 points wins (must win by at least two points).
Alongside former Heat Championship teammate Rashard Lewis as well as former NBA players Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Reggie Evans, Larry Sanders, and Al Thornton, Chalmers led his team to the semifinals. Unfortunately, the 3 Headed Monsters fell short of reaching the championship round.
Despite leaving the summer without the title, Chalmers says he accomplished what he wanted with the BIG3 this season.
“This being my first year in the BIG3, I just wanted to learn, get accustomed to the league, see what it’s about, and have fun with it.
“It’s a lot more fun than I expected. It’s a lot more competitive, too! I thought it was just gonna be guys getting together and playing some pickup-type ball. But it gets serious, it gets real, and that’s the good thing about the BIG3. ”
Chalmers joined the league that also saw former NBA stars Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Josh Smith, Jason Richardson, and Lamar Odom all make their BIG3 debuts. Ice Cube’s league, which just wrapped up its third season, continues to increase in popularity due to the competitive nature and starpower.
“It’s just good,” added Chalmers. “Sometimes you didn’t get to compete against those guys or you didn’t get to show what you can do because of the team, but out here, you can show that you’ve got game and compete against the best.”
With the season now over and NBA training camp around the corner, Chalmers is keeping an eye on teams that need help at the point guard position. Among the teams he’s interested in are the LA Clippers.
The Clippers currently have Patrick Beverley as the only pure point guard on the team. Three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams could play the one, or even Landry Shamet, who’s had two years of experience as the starting point guard at Wichita State, could play minutes there. It’s still unclear what the team will do, but the point guard position is definitely a position of need for the Clippers heading into camp.
“The Clippers definitely need one,” Chalmers said with a smile and a few nods, envisioning himself on the team now led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. “Hopefully they call and they bring me in for training camp. I just want to go to training camp and prove myself. Prove that I can be on the team and belong.
“If it happens, it happens. It’s not something that I’m stressing my whole day about, but if it happens, it happens.”
Chalmers last played with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.2 steals. Before tearing his Achilles during the 2015-16 season, Chalmers was averaging 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals for the Grizzlies.
The nine-year veteran reached four NBA Finals and won back-to-back NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 as well as 2013, providing consistent shooting, sound defense, and stability at the point guard position.
Granted, he was in his mid-20’s at the time, but the now 33-year old isn’t necessarily looking for a chance at a ring or a handful of playing time. Chalmers just wants an opportunity to prove that he still belongs in the NBA despite his rocky couple of years.
“I just want to be able to help a team,” indicated Chalmers. “Of course, a championship… We always play to win a championship. Me already having two, it would be great to add a third one, but I kind of want to be that vet guy, showing leadership in the locker room and just kind of sharing my experiences with the young guys coming up. Just being a vet like how the older guys were to me.”
It remains to be seen what Chalmers can do, but that’s the idea behind signing a training camp deal. It sounds like the guard would certainly be interested in filling a void the Clippers currently have.
“Call the Clippers up for me,” Chalmers said, walking away with a smile. “Tell them to get me a training camp deal.”