Utah Jazz sign Norvel Pelle to 10-day hardship contract

The journeyman center played with the Nets, Kings, and Knicks, last season, and will give the short-handed Jazz another body to throw in the big-man rotation.

New York Knicks forward Norvel Pelle (14) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. The Nuggets won 113-97. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Toronto • The suddenly short-handed Utah Jazz have signed center Norvel Pelle to a 10-day hardship contract.

Agent B.J. Bass of the RBA Sports agency confirmed the signing to The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday morning. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the intended agreement. The Jazz subsequently announced the signing.

Ahead of Friday night’s game at ScotiaBank Arena, the Jazz have a depleted roster. After Joe Ingles became the team’s first entrant into the COVID-19-based health and safety protocols this season, Rudy Gobert joined him on Thursday. Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic were all ruled out of the game due to minor injuries, and did not accompany the team to Canada.

The Jazz’s roster has further question marks, given that all of Royce O’Neale, Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gay, and Hassan Whiteside were given a “Questionable” status on the team’s official injury report Thursday — leaving Utah very close to not having the minimum eight players required to play a game.

After signing Danuel House to a 10-day contract earlier this week, the Jazz have now added Pelle on a similar contract.

He appeared in 37 NBA games over the previous two seasons, playing 24 with the 76ers in 2019-20, and 13 between the Nets, Kings, and Knicks last season. He also signed to a 10-day contract with the Celtics this past Dec. 25, but did not appear in a game with the Celtics.

The 6-foot-10, 231-pounder is 28 years old, and has career averages of 2.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 8.5 minutes per game.

With Gobert and Whiteside both missing the Jazz’s game against Denver on Wednesday, the Jazz were forced to divide their center minutes up among Udoka Azubuike (who was making his first career start in his first game back after a severe ankle injury), 6-8 Rudy Gay, and 6-6 Eric Pashcall.

Pelle is expected to be available against the Raptors.