The Portland Trail Blazers signed forward Shavlik Randolph to a non-guaranteed contract today, the team announced.
The 6-foot-10, 236-pound Randolph could be ready to play in tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden.
Randolph’s signing marks his second run with the Blazers. He played in 10 games for Portland in 2008-09, averaging 1.8 and 1.8 rebounds.
“It feels good to be back home,” Randolph said. “This became my home. Just the guys on the team became like my family. And I missed them even when I wasn’t here.”
With Randolph’s addition, the Blazers’ roster now stands at 16. Portland has used two NBA hardship exemptions this season, the second of which was approved today by the league.
Tom Penn, Blazers vice president of basketball operations, said the team still has one exemption remaining. The spot was originally filled by forward Anthony Tolliver, who was waived by the team Tuesday.
Penn stated that Portland must re-apply to the NBA every two weeks to keep the exemption open. Whether the Blazers will use the opening is complicated by the fact that non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed Jan. 10, Penn said.
“The player has to clear waivers by Jan. 9. So you have until Jan. 6 to get that done,” Penn said. “And with this relief offered by the league, it’s supposed to be short-term relief. … So, all that factors into decisions, when you look at our schedule.”
Randolph, who played college ball at Duke University, has been on four teams during his five-year NBA career. He saw action in two games for the Miami Heat this season, averaging 1.0 points and 3.5 rebounds. He was waived by the team Dec. 14.
“When Miami released me, and a lot of injuries come up with the Blazers, we started talking,” Randolph said. “And every couple days, we’re talking more. And then I got the phone call yesterday, saying that they’re ready to pull the trigger. And, like I said, it’s such a blessing; I’m so privileged to be back here.”
Randolph should provide Portland (20-13) with depth at the center position, which has been a weak point following season-ending injuries to centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla.
“Obviously, they need help down low a little bit, with so many big guys getting hurt,” Randolph said.
Interview with Tom Penn, Blazers vice president of basketball operations, about Randolph, Tolliver and hardship exemptions.