10-Day contracts are often an opportunity for undrafted or G-League players to get a chance to showcase their skills and try to earn a spot on an NBA roster. More than usually, those players don’t get enough playing time or shrink in the spotlight in those few games, but for one player, it was an opportunity he would take advantage of.
Sundiata Gaines went undrafted in the 2008 Draft and decided to find his way to the NBA through the D-Leauge(today G-League). And next season, on January 5, 2010, he signed a 10-day contract with the Utah Jazz.
On the last game of his 10-day contract, his Utah Jazz faced the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James. Gains found himself playing a crucial role in a tight game. He sparked a 21-6 run in the third quarter when he entered the contest.
With 5.6 seconds to go, the Jazz was down two and in need of a bucket. Ronnie Price got the ball but didn’t manage to create anything as he gave to the ball to Gaines in a tough situation with a second to go. Gaines pulled up for a three with a hand in his face and swished a buzzer-beater.
The fans went into a frenzy as the most unlikely hero came to the rescue. He would finish the game with 9 points, and his first contract averaging 4.2 points and 1.4 assists in five games with the Jazz. Utah went 4-1in that stretch. That play secured him a second 10-day contract and eventually a deal until the end of the season.
Unfortunately for Gaines, he got waived the next season as he bounced around a few more NBA teams and went overseas where he is still playing at DSC Basket.