Ayres Kept His Bags Packed Hoping For Call
HOUSTON – Jeff Ayres can finally unpack his suitcase.
The NBA Development League is in the past now for Ayres, who signed with the Clippers for the rest of the season Wednesday after signing two 10-day contracts with the team earlier this year.
“I kept my bags packed, ready for the call,” said Ayres, who heard rumors he could get the call back to the Clippers from the NBA Development League.
But he couldn’t be certain until he saw the “310” number calling on his cell phone.
“I was ready to answer,” Ayres said.
The last time Ayres was with the Clippers, he was taking a jet to Toronto. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were heading to Canada for the NBA All-Star Weekend. Ayres was also heading there for the festivities, only he was scheduled to play in the D-League All-Star Game, unsure of what was to come next as his second 10-day contract expired.
At the time, the Clippers went another direction.
So, it was back to the D-League and back to Boise for Ayres. And even then, the travel was just beginning, as his stay wouldn’t be long.
“I was telling somebody this morning, I’ve been living out of my suitcase – like really living out a suitcase,” Ayres said.
Ayres was traded from Idaho to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, where he made his two games count, averaging 16.5 points and 13 rebounds.
Inevitably, his return to Los Angeles had him thinking about another L.A. team he was playing for weeks prior.
“I was like, hopefully I move to L.A., I’m close, I hope they don’t forget about me,” Ayres said with a grin. “Now being back, and being back for the rest of the season, is awesome.”
And he means that in every way, after what he described as an “adventure” of a year. The joys of returning to a life of more luxury are numerous for any D-League player returning to the NBA.
The food is better. Budget hotels turn into Four Seasons. Commercial flights turn into team charters. As Ayres arrived back with the team, the upgraded travel couldn’t help but cross his mind.
“I haven’t been on the plane yet, but I can’t wait until tomorrow,” Ayres said. “Fighting and scratching for an exit row, I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Ayres wasn’t the only new addition to the locker room Wednesday, as guard C.J. Wilcox also rejoined the team from the D-League.
The Clippers recalled Wilcox from the Canton Charge, where he averaged 19.7 points in three games. Wilcox didn’t know how long he was going to be in Canton, but he was encouraged to get the call Tuesday night that they’d be bringing him back.
Prior to going down to the D-League, Wilcox experienced some meaningful minutes for the first time in his career, playing 10 minutes against Phoenix and 11 minutes against Sacramento.
“That was great,” Wilcox said. “The more opportunities like that I get, the better, the more comfortable I feel. That’s the biggest thing is comfort level in the NBA. The more opportunities like that, the better it’s going to be for me.”