Chuck Hayes Cleared To Play After Heart Scare: Where Will NBA Journeyman Land?

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterDecember 22, 2011

DENVER - APRIL 17:  Chuck Hayes #44 of Houston Rockets is on the court during the game against the Denver Nuggets on April 17, 2006 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  The Rockets won 86-83.  NOTE TO USER: USER expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Good news in the NBA today: Chuck Hayes has been cleared to play.

According to CBS Sports, the free-agent big man was given a clean bill of health by doctors at the Cleveland Clinic after undergoing a battery of tests on Wednesday. Hayes had signed a four-year, $21 million deal with the Sacramento Kings on December 9. The team voided the deal just 10 days later, when doctors discovered a heart abnormality during a routine physical.

Hayes' preference is to re-engage the Kings in negotiations now that he's been given a proverbial second lease on his career. With Samuel Dalembert now with the Houston Rockets, GM Geoff Petrie is in need of another big body to fill up his front court. Judging by the previous deal, Petrie would've been perfectly happy with Hayes from a purely basketball perspective.

The Kings aren't the only team that could use some depth up front, though. Hayes would've been an excellent fit on the Clippers' bench, as a glue guy behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but that role has since been filled by Reggie Evans. The New Jersey Nets could approach Hayes now that Brook Lopez is expected to be out for an extended period of time, though it's doubtful they'd offer him a multi-year deal, especially with Dwight Howard still on the table.

The Charlotte Bobcats may want to put in a call to Hayes' agent before too long, lest they entrust their pivot responsibilities to Boris Diaw and BJ Mullens.

Unfortunately for Hayes, the fact that these circumstances came about so close to the start of the 2011-12 regular season only harms his market value, meaning that whichever team lands him is likely to do so at a fraction of the previous cost.

Chances are, though, he'll end up back in Sacto playing for a fledgling Western Conference bottom-feeder.