There are very few silver linings or fun aspects of the recent COVID-19 surge that has wreaked havoc on the country and the current NBA season. One of them is that with dozens of players drifting in and out of the health and safety protocols, opportunities have opened up for other players -- young and old alike -- to either make their debuts or get back into the league after a few years away.
While it's great that some G Leaguers have finally gotten their break, the nostalgia factor has made it especially cool to see so many returning veterans like Joe Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and Greg Monroe. Now, we can add another name to the list: Mario Chalmers. The veteran point guard is heading back to where it all started. He'll sign a 10-day contract with the Miami Heat, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Chalmers was a second-round pick for the Heat back in 2008, and spent seven-plus seasons in South Beach. Though he was often the punching bag for fans and teammates alike during "The Heatles" era, Chalmers played a major role in the team's four straight NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Because of that, he'll always have a connection to the franchise, and it's neat to see things come back full circle.
He was eventually traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, and since leaving the NBA in 2018 has spent time in Italy, Greece and Puerto Rico, along with the BIG 3 and G League.
"I was looking for any opportunities just to be seen," Chalmers said earlier this month. "I made the decision that I didn't want to play overseas again. Playing overseas the last three years and being away from my family and not getting all the money that I deserved, it was difficult times... I want to show that I can still play. I've still got a lot to offer a team. I'm a proven winner."
The Heat have four games over the next 10 days, starting with a road game against the Houston Rockets. Chalmers is already en route to Houston and told the Associated Press, "I'm ready." It's unclear when or how much Chalmers will get to play, but even if he doesn't get in, making it back to the league after three-plus years is an accomplishment in itself.