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Nets officially sign Wenyen Gabriel to 10-day deal with player returns looming

Grand Rapids Gold v Wisconsin Herd Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets have officially signed Wenyen Gabriel to a 10-day hardship exception, the team announced Tuesday evening.

The 6’9” forward comes to Brooklyn after a strong start in the G League with the Bucks affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Gabriel, who played 12 games (10 starts) averaged 13.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.1 assists and 1.0 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. His shooting splits with the Herd stand at 48/39/51.

Below are some of Gabriel’s top plays from the recent 2021-22 G League Showcase in Las Vegas.

Beyond his recent play in the G League, Gabriel has NBA experience in his two years as a professional — seeing action in 51 games (one start) with the Pelicans (2020-21), the Trail Blazers (2020) and the Kings (2019-20). He also spent two seasons with the King affiliate, the Stockton Kings.

Two years ago, he had his most memorable NBA game in “bubble” when he provided a spark in the Blazers’ Game 1 win over the Lakers.

The 24-year-old forward was ranked No. 14 in the Class of 2016 by ESPN and spent two years at the University of Kentucky — averaged 6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game. He led the collegiate squad in blocks (40) during his sophomore season. Gabriel has a 7’1” wingspan and recorded a 36.5” max vertical at Kentucky. He went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Gabriel becomes the fourth player to be signed under the 10-day hardship exception, joining Langston Galloway, Shaquille Harrison and James Ennis III. With 10 players in health and safety protocols, the Nets can sign up to 10 players on 10-day deals. With most of their players due to come off health and safety protocols in the next couple of days, that is highly unlikely.

As Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Tuesday, players like Gabriel will have to undergo testing on arrival, but that will not stop him from playing.

The Nets will no longer face a luxury tax bill of $504,000 for each player signed to the 10-day deal. Each 10-day contract can be extended for a second 10 days or three games.