Former Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers has agreed to a contract with the NBA G League's Grand Rapids Gold and will play in the G League Showcase Dec. 19-22, per The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania.
Chalmers last played in the NBA during the 2017-18 campaign. He has since played in Italy, Greece and Puerto Rico, and has also played in the BIG3, a three-on-three pro basketball league founded by rapper/actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz in 2017.
Chalmers' decision to return to the United States stems from his desire to return to the NBA. The 35-year-old told JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors that he always wanted to return and end his career in the U.S.
"Finishing my career where I started would mean the world to me," Chalmers said. "I first got drafted into the NBA. I never had dreams of walking away from the game of basketball overseas, so this would be a great way to end my career. Just being back at home in front of the fans that helped me get to where I am today."
Chalmers added that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and will be ready if and when another opportunity arises:
"I have a lot left in the tank. I have fresh legs, a fresh body and I'm ready for that full NBA grind again. A lot of teams are fighting for those 16 playoff spots, so at the end of the day, if someone gets hurt or COVID becomes an issue, I'm ready.
"I've been in the gym. I catch on fast and won't miss a beat. I've already been there before. At the end of the day, I know what it takes to help win a championship."
Chalmers' bid to return to the NBA probably couldn't have come at a better time. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are talking about implementing a rule that would force teams hit with significant COVID-19 outbreaks to sign replacement players.
Allowing teams to sign replacement players would limit potential game postponements and cancellations. So, Chalmers definitely has a shot at returning.
Chalmers spent the first seven-and-a-half seasons of his NBA career with the Heat before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2015-16 campaign. He then suffered an Achilles tear in 2016 and was waived by Memphis, who re-signed him two years later, but he did not return to the NBA after the 2017-18 campaign.
In nine NBA seasons, the two-time champion averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 35.1 percent from deep.