With NBA rosters ravaged by COVID-19, a number of players are getting major opportunities. That includes Lance Stephenson, who's set to make his return to the league as a member of the Atlanta Hawks on a 10-day hardship deal, according to Marc Stein.
Stephenson had been playing in the G League with the Grand Rapids Gold and clearly impressed the Hawks enough to get another NBA chance:
Can confirm Lance Stephenson is getting a call-up with the Hawks, as @TheSteinLine reported.
Stephenson had been a huge positive for Grand Rapids and Jason Terry. It was apparent when I talked to him a couple weeks ago how hungry he was to get back to the league.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) December 21, 2021
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Stephenson last played in the NBA as a member of the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers. The 31-year-old appeared in 68 games that season, but it was a massive disappointment for the Lakers thanks to LeBron James' injury woes.
The NBA veteran became a household name with the Indiana Pacers back in the day, when the Pacers and LeBron's Miami Heat built a rivalry in the early 2010s. The guard bounced around the league after his initial Pacers tenure, though he returned to Indiana for a second stint before joining the Lakers in 2018.
The Hawks are looking for help as they deal with COVID-19 and other injury problems. Trae Young recently went into the NBA's health and safety protocols, and they've also been without De'Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Solomon Hill. Furthermore, Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari are now entering protocols as well, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Atlanta is just 14-15 in 2021-22 after the surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Hawks are hoping Stephenson can give them a shot in the arm as they try to overcome this adversity and work their way up the standings. This will be the third time Stephenson has played for Nate McMillan.
Atlanta's last game was postponed due to the Cleveland Cavaliers' COVID outbreak.