Free-agent forward Chuck Hayes said an independent team of doctors has declared him healthy enough to resume his NBA career, days after the Sacramento Kings' medical staff detected an abnormality in his heart and the team voided his contract.
Hayes had signed a four-year, $21.3 million contract with the Kings only to have it voided after the heart irregularity was discovered during his physical with the team. Hayes then flew to Cleveland for further evaluation from specialists at the Cleveland Clinic. After nearly 11 hours of testing, Hayes said he was told by doctors Thursday morning that he does not have a heart problem and can continue to play without concern.
“I’m ecstatic inside,” Hayes told Yahoo! Sports in a phone interview. “It’s a big relief. I have no worries at all. I have a healthy heart. My heart’s fine.
"The doctors just say it’s too big. It’s too big means I have a big heart. I’m a big guy. That’s all it is."
Hayes came to an agreement with the Kings later Thursday on a four-year, $22.4 million deal – $1.1 million more than his previous contract with the team. He still must pass a physical with the team.
Hayes grew up in Modesto, Calif., which is one reason why Sacramento was appealing. He had also strongly considered the T'wolves because their new coach, Rick Adelman, coached him with the Houston Rockets.
"He just thought it was just a good fit for him," said Hayes' agent, Calvin Andrews. "He was very comfortable with the coaching staff, and the money was right. We talked to a couple different people. There was some teams that had to make some maneuvers and others that couldn't come to the level. So he decided to come up with Sacramento because he was still comfortable going there and they were able to come up with more money, which is incredible."
Hayes said he was distraught and confused when he didn’t pass the Kings’ initial physical. He never contemplated retirement and wanted a second opinion. The Kings’ medical staff recommended Hayes visit the Cleveland Clinic for further evaluation. He underwent CT scans, an EKG, an MRI and stress tests.
“I’m not angry with Sac,” Hayes said. “I feel like I owe it to them. They found something. They raised the concern. They pretty much helped me by sending me out here [to Cleveland]. They took my contract away, but they pretty much helped me by sending me out here."
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- the Cleveland Clinic