Stricken by injuries, the Wizards have signed Gary Payton II to a contract, using a hardship exception to bring him on the roster. He spent three games with the Wizards last season after signing a 10-day contract with the club in January, but was not offered another deal.
The Wizards recently applied for and expect to get a hardship exception from the NBA per Fred Katz.
The hardship exception allows a team to sign a 16th player without having to waive anyone. In order to qualify for the exception, a team must have four players miss three or more games with an injury and are expected to miss more time on top of it.
Once enough players return from injury and the Wizards have less than four qualified players, they'll need to cut someone to get the roster back down to 15. That doesn't necessarily have to be Payton, so he might be able to play his way into a full-time spot.
Payton, son of Hall of Famer Gary, went undrafted in 2016 and has bounced between the NBA and the G-League throughout his young career. In the three games he spent with the Wizards last season, Payton averaged 3.7 points, 1.3 assists and a steal in just 5.3 minutes per game.
In 16 games this season, Payton has averaged 21.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and an NBA G-league leading 3.2 steals per game this year, along with being named Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 16.
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