Los Angeles • Even as he prepared for Saturday’s game against the L.A. Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers were somewhere in the back of Diante Garrett’s mind.
The opponent hardly matters, but the date means everything. The Cavaliers come to EnergySolutions Arena on Jan. 10 — the day all contracts in the league become fully guaranteed.
"I’m just going to not think about it," Garrett said. "Make sure I come out every day and do what I have to do to make sure I get past that deadline. Stay positive, not think about it and stress myself out. But it’s in the back of my mind."
Since signing with the Jazz in November, Garrett has averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 assists a game. But Garrett, along with guard Ian Clark and forward Mike Harris, has a non-guaranteed contract.
Of the three, Garrett has logged the most serious minutes — though they’ve been in shorter supply of late.
Garrett hasn’t seen action in the Jazz’s two games heading into the night, while veteran point guard John Lucas III has taken on a larger role.
"I just have to make sure I keep my head up and whoever gets a chance to get out there to play brings it and the other will cheer on the other guy," Garrett said.
Kobe Bryant is hurt. So is Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Al Horford.
As injuries continue to mount for the league’s marquee players, Clippers coach Doc Ricers joked a return to the old ways might help.
"I laugh because in this generation they have all this stuff, strength coaches, you know," Rivers said. "Maybe Dominique [Wilkins] was right. Chips and hot dogs before every game. And he was never injured. It’s amazing."
"Hopefully by the end of the year everybody is healthy and can play," he added. "That would be great for the league."
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