3:39pm: The Hawks have officially signed Lee to a rest-of-season contract, the team announced in a press release.
8:30am: Damion Lee‘s second 10-day contract with the Hawks expired overnight, but he appears set to stick with the team. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN (Twitter link), Atlanta expects to re-sign Lee to a rest-of-season deal. It’s not clear yet if the agreement would cover the 2018/19 season or if it would allow the rookie guard to return to the free agent market this summer.
During his 20 days with the Hawks, Lee has appeared in the first 10 games of his NBA career, averaging 9.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.9 APG. After a hot start, the 25-year-old cooled off a little during his second 10-day contract, shooting just .388/.190/.667 over his last five games.
The Hawks, who signed Jeremy Evans to a 10-day contract on Sunday, currently have a full 15-man roster. However, the league granted Atlanta a hardship exception, which allows the club to carry a 16th player, so no corresponding roster move will be necessary to re-sign Lee.
That hardship exception can be granted when a team has at least four players who have missed three consecutive games and are expected to miss at least two more weeks. In the Hawks’ case, Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Antonius Cleveland, Jaylen Morris, and Malcolm Delaney are all on the shelf, so at least four of those players appear unlikely to return this season.
Mark Suleymanov of Hoops Rumors recently took an in-depth look at Lee’s long road to the NBA, a journey that saw him make his way back from ACL tears in both knees.