The Clippers short-circuited perhaps the best comeback story in the league when they waived Nikoloz Tskitishvili just a few days after the start of camp, preventing the former No. 5 overall pick from seeing his first regular season action since 2005/06. However, his was far from the only comeback attempt going on this fall. Seven players who are at least two seasons removed from their last appearance in an NBA regular season game are currently on preseason rosters.
Only Sonny Weems, whom the Suns signed to a two-year deal, appears to have a safe grip on a regular season roster spot. His total package is worth worth $5,754,630, and the $2.814MM salary for this season is fully guaranteed, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The other players trying to return to the league are on non-guaranteed deals. Still, teams are hoping to find the next Hassan Whiteside, who hadn’t played in the regular season since 2011/12 before his breakout campaign for the Heat last year. He was in Grizzlies camp, waived before opening night, signed with Memphis again in November, hit waivers again just one day later, and finally signed with the Heat on a deal that included just $100K of guaranteed salary. It was on that Heat contract that Whiteside took off, proving that sometimes it takes more than just a second chance to launch a career.
Here’s a look at each of the seven trying to do as Whiteside did, with the season in which they last saw regular season action in parentheses. Note that this doesn’t count players who had recent cameos, like Sasha Vujacic did in 2013/14, despite not having seen extensive regular season minutes for a longer period of time.