October 18, 2017

The most successful NBA players on 10 day contracts

2017/02/04 11:22 am 11:22 am11:22 am0 0 comments

Yogi Farrell was a stud while playing for Indiana University, but the 23 year old, 6-0 guard went undrafted in the NBA 2016 draft.

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Then on Friday, February 4th, on a 10 day contract, Ferrell dropped 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting including nine threes in a win over Damien Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.

That’s extraordinary because these players are normally signed to fill a specific need and 100% of the time, that’s never to be the leading scorer for the team. Usually, NBA teams go with these contracts because they have been ravaged by injuries and those injuries really impact a specific need. So teams might need more outside shooting or they need a big body or a point guard.

From the NBA.com’s D-League Site, 10 Day Contracts are defined as such:

30. How do 10-day NBA contracts work? Each season, from early January to early April, NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts. A player can be signed to a maximum of two consecutive 10-day contracts before a team must either sign him for the remainder of the season or release him.

Players on these extremely short lifelines have to think about every little thing they can do. It’s not just how they play on the court, but everything off-the-court matters —  from how they dress, whether they smile, how long they stay in the gym. They’re in their heads and under a microscope; as anything can be used against/for them when on a 10-day contract.

This little blurb from a Sports Illustrated article does a good job of detailing the balance that a player on a 10-day contract must maintain. In this case, it’s Zabian Dowdell:

Dowdell pondered the challenge facing all 10-days: how to make an impression without an opportunity. “I have to be the first one there every day and the last one to leave,” Dowdell said. ‘I have to bring energy and a smiling face…’

A 10-day must be assertive but deferential, seizing his moment while knowing his place… when the team huddled outside the locker room, he stood on the edge of the circle, hands in sweats. When the game began, he sat at the end of the bench, the first one rising to cheer.

Keep in mind, these guys weren’t role players all their life, they were very much the stars on every team they played on. And now, they’re relegated to an intern, almost a nobody.

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10 Day Contract NBA Players that Have Had the Most Success

With Farrell’s performance, that got us wondering, what was the most successful performance an NBA player has had on a 10-day contract? The only caveat is that the player must be in the first year and hasn’t had an extablished NBA career.

(No, Jeremy Lin wasn’t on a 10-day contract when he went “Linsanity”, so he doesn’t count)

Another player that rang a bell was Sundiata Gaines, who came to prominence a few years ago when he hit a buzzer beater for the Utah Jazz.

Surprisingly, for as much as teams rely on these contracts during the season, there isn’t much data on these kind of players. I guess that makes sense considering these players rarely get the opportunities to shine. Sure, there are plenty of players that may have started out with ‘ten dayers’ and went on to successful NBA careers: Mario Elie, Chucky Brown, Anthony Mason, Elliot Perry, Alonzo Gee, Avery Johnson and now Hassan Whiteside, but most often than not, players that start out on 10-day contracts never make it to a longer contract.

We’re compiling the info and seeing what we can come up with in this niche category. Stay tuned.

Players with Most 10-Day Contract Stints

Another way of measuring success of these kind of players are the ones that are signed to NBA contracts, but which players have had the most 10-day contracts in NBA history? Take a look at this list:

The list of full of names you may recognize. If you watched the NBA in the 1990’s you remember Anthony Goldwire who holds the record for the most NBA 10 Day Contracts. When you add that all up, that’s more than half an NBA season.

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How Much does a 10-Day Contract Pay?

So how much does one of these fringe players make? Suprisingly it’s a LOT. It’s not an arbitrary number — most of these short term contracts are pro-rated based off the minimum salary for that season. For example, according to HoopRumors: A 10-day contract for a rookie was worth approximately $29,843 in 2015. A one-year veteran would earn $48,028 for 10 days of his service and a minimum-salary for any “veteran” (two or more seasons) would cost a team $53,838 for 10 days.

The pro-rated minimum for 10 days of work is more than many Americans make in half a year of 40-hour workweek and it’s significantly more than the average season salary for a D-League player (somewhere between $13K to $25K). However that all might change with the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Anyways, there’s a lot of pressure to show what you can offer in just 10 short days. In 10 days, you might have only 3-5 games to show off and you might only get 46 seconds here or 12.2 seconds there. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a stretch of 4-6 minutes.

Even so, it’s still an opportunity. More than the majority of D-Leaguers get and hey, the money is a nice consolation prize. In today’s money, Anthony Goldwire‘s eleven 10-day contracts is worth more than $500,000.

Here’s some more resources on 10 day NBA contracts: 10 Days To Live: The life of an NBA player on a 10-day contract (Sports Illustrated) | The Planes, Trains And Automobiles That Begin 10-Day Contracts (Sports Illustrated) | The Most Unique Contract in Sports, the NBA 10 Day Contract (Denver Stiffs) | Grinding for a 10-Day Contract (The Player’s Tribune)

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