And-Ones: Hardship Deals, Sharpe, Cornelie, All-Star Voting

The NBA will continue to allow teams to sign players to 10-day hardship contracts via a COVID-related allowance through February 17, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). When first introducing the new form of hardship deals last month, the league said they would be permitted until at least January 19.

Unlike the injury-related hardship deals that have been available for many years, a COVID hardship contract doesn’t count against a team’s salary for cap or tax purposes. Additionally, an injury-related hardship exception is only granted if a club has at least four players out with longer-term injuries, whereas that club becomes eligible for a COVID hardship exception as soon as one player enters the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

There are far fewer players in the protocols now than there were in mid-to-late December and early January, so hopefully the worst of this season’s COVID-19 outbreaks are behind us and not many hardship deals will be required in the coming weeks.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Kentucky guard Shaedon Sharpe, once ranked by ESPN as the top prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, will be eligible to apply for the ’22 NBA draft as an early entrant, a source tells ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. It’s unclear whether or not Sharpe, who has yet to play at all for the Wildcats, will actually declare for this year’s draft. If he does, it would shake up the top 10 for lottery teams — Givony has tentatively placed the 18-year-old sixth overall on ESPN’s 2022 big board.
  • Despite some rumors that he was being eyed by a team in Spain, former Nuggets forward Petr Cornelie has signed a G League contract and joined the Grand Rapids Gold, Denver’s affiliate, according to the league’s transactions log. Cornelie was waived last week so the Nuggets could sign Davon Reed to a two-way contract.
  • The NBA announced the latest All-Star voting results on Thursday and issued a reminder that voting will end on Saturday and the All-Star starters will be announced next Thursday, January 27. The fans’ selections will account for 50% of the overall vote, with current NBA players (25%) and a media panel (25%) accounting for the remainder.
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