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Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul didn't let hecklers in Boston harass one of the team's 10-day signees last week in a story told by Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes on Thursday's NBA on TNT broadcast.
While dealing with multiple players in health and safety protocols last week, the Suns signed power forward Emanuel Terry to a 10-day contract. The hardship signings have been constant over the past month as teams deal with the protocols amid the omicron variant of COVID-19 sweeping through the nation.
Terry did not play on Dec. 27, the day he signed, and was in for only 1:22 of game time two days later. But on New Year's Eve, he saw more action while on the road against the Boston Celtics. And while he was on the bench during the game he faced heckling by fans in the Boston crowd, Haynes reported. They reportedly called him a "one-day guy" as well as other insults.
Paul addresses hecklers in Boston
It was Paul who stepped in and addressed fans. Per Haynes, he told them, "to respect this player who is helping to keep our season alive." Paul also gave a message for Haynes to give during the Suns' win against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the players with 10-day contracts who stayed ready," Paul said. "You're the reason we're making it through this season and we couldn't do it without you.
Terry told Haynes that hecklers sent him a DM apologizing after the game.
NBA 10-day contracts keep season going
Players signing 10-day hardship contracts are keeping themselves in shape and game ready for if they get a call or chance with a team. There have been big names who know the NBA lifestyle, such as Joe Johnson returning to TD Garden in Boston 20 years after playing with the franchise. And then players such as the 25-year-old Terry, who prior to the signing had only played three NBA games back in 2018-19.
Without players like that, teams would be forced to forfeit games since they couldn't meet the required minimum roster numbers. Or the games would be canceled, pulling contests off of TV and leaving fans without games to watch. The hardship signings have varied impact on the court, but Paul is right. Without them, the NBA might not make it through the season.