It’s not exactly earth shattering news, but the Raptors are reportedly set to sign swingman Nigel Hayes to a 10-day contract. The news was announced earlier today by the one and only Woj:
Toronto is signing D League forward Nigel Hayes to a 10-day contract, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 5, 2018
If your next thought is “who?”, worry not, for you are not alone.
Hayes is a 23-year-old, 6’8”, 254 pound swing man out of Wisconsin (where he played all four years of his college ball). He’s appeared in two NBA games this season for the Los Angeles Lakers — including one against the Raptors! — which is the extent of his experience at the pro level.
The rest of the story goes like this: Hayes went undrafted in 2017, played for the Knicks Summer League team, and was signed to a partially guaranteed deal there. He was eventually cut and ended up on the Westchester Knicks, their G League squad. That is, of course, until the Raptors snapped him up.
There’s some logic to the move. The Raptors have been playing with a 14-man roster all year (plus their two two-way contract players). On top of that, OG Anunoby is in a walking boot right now and potentially out for a few more games (may as well be cautious with him). And on top of that, you don’t have a ton of other depth at the position — in fact, the three-spot has been the team’s weakness all year. (Hey, I just wrote about that!)
We don’t know what Hayes brings at the NBA-level over, say, Malcolm Miller, but having an extra body around at this juncture at the season (for no significant cost) can’t hurt. Here’s what Hayes has been up to lately in the G League.