Los Angeles • When Vivint Smart Home Arena rose in unison and gave David Stockton a standing ovation Thursday night, the Utah Jazz point guard feared it would be a swan song.
Stockton had hit a 3-pointer in Utah’s blowout win over the Los Angeles Clippers, entering the game to a standing ovation that got louder when he scored. But Stockton also knew his second 10-day contract would expire that night. The Jazz had to make a decision. They either had to sign him for the remainder of the season or let him go.
They signed him for the remainder of the season.
“It was nerve-wracking, but we were so happy when my family got the call,” Stockton said. “Obviously, I’m very happy to be here. I just want to contribute and do whatever is needed.”
The Jazz had an open spot on the roster. And they have had injury issues at the point guard spot. Ricky Rubio has been battling hamstring soreness over the last few weeks. Raul Neto just returned from a fractured wrist, and we all know Dante Exum’s injury history.
So keeping Stockton — the son of Jazz great John Stockton — made sense. He’s not going to be in Quin Snyder’s playing rotation, unless there’s an emergency. But Stockton has proved to be a locker room asset. He’s been a good practice player and he’s played well in his limited minutes.
“It’s been good to finally have some depth at the point guard position,” Snyder said.
The Lakers played without many of their starters on Sunday afternoon. Former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma sat with a mildly sprained ankle. Brandon Ingram didn’t play due to being in concussion protocol. Lonzo Ball sat with a knee contusion. Without three of their main guys, rookie Josh Hart became a top option, as did Julius Randle.
Legendary comic Eddie Murphy attended Sunday’s game at Staples Center, and rose from his midcourt seat at halftime to greet Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was also greeted by actor Michael Rappaport.