22-year-old on the verge of being first player of Indian descent to play in NBA
Los Angeles: The Sacramento Kings are reportedly poised to ink Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract that would make the towering center the first player of Indian descent in the NBA.
Sacramento Kings' Sim Bhullar stands on the court during a NBA Summer League match against the Charlotte Hornets on July 13, 2014 at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pic/AFP
ESPN was among the US media outlets reporting on Wednesday that the Kings, owned by Indian software magnate Vivek Ranadive, expect to bring Bhullar in from the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento's affiliate in the NBA Development League.
The 7-foot-5-inch (1.7m) Bhullar has spent the entire season with the Bighorns, after attending the Kings' pre-season training camp.
Bhullar's average in the D-League this season is 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks.
The 22-year-old, who was born in Canada to Indian-born parents, is expected to replace David Wear on Sacramento's roster after Wear's 10-day contract expired yesterday.
Bhullar was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player for New Mexico State University as they reached the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014.
He was undrafted last June but was brought into training camp by the Kings before landing in Reno.
Ranadive, the NBA's first Indian-born owner, said last August when the team brought Bhullar into the training camp that he believed India was "the next great frontier" for the league.
> Bhullar hails from Brampton, Ontario, outside Toronto, where his parents settled after migrating from India
> At 7-foot-5 inches, Bhullar will be the tallest player currently plying his trade in the NBA. However, he will not be the tallest player ever in the NBA. That distinction goes to Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol, who were both 7.7 inches. At just two inches shorter than the pair, Bhullar will be the sixth-tallest player ever to play in the league
> Bhullar's average in the D-League this season is 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks
What's a 10-day contract?
A 10-day contract is essentially a job tryout. The provision helps players looking to make it into NBA teams' rosters. As per the NBA's 10-day contract provision, teams have the option to sign free agents for a period of either 10 days or three games, whichever is longer. At the end of the contract, the team can renew the player's contract for another 10 days or let him become a free agent. A team can sign a player for upto two 10-day contracts in a season. To retain the player after that, a team must issue a contract for the rest of the season.