Hayes expected to sign with Kings again after being cleared to play
Chuck Hayes, cleared to play again, is set to re-sign with the Kings for $22 million
The Kings had voided his four-year, $21 million deal over concerns about his heart
After more tests, doctors determined Hayes can continue playing without worry
Free agent big man Chuck Hayes has agreed to sign a four-year, $22.4 million to return to Sacramento, his agent told SI.com.
Hayes had his four-year, $21 million deal voided by the Kings on Monday when tests revealed an abnormality in his heart, yet he was cleared to play on Thursday morning after seeking a second opinion. According to a source close to the situation, teams can only void contracts based on a failed physical for six days after it is signed. The Kings had taken the safe route for fear that Hayes' heart problem would prove to be problematic, but are clearly thrilled he's back.
"He's scheduled to come back to Sacramento tomorrow," Westphal told reporters on Thursday. "We're just so overwhelmingly happy that the second opinions are so positive. Primarily we're happy for Chuck, but we're also happy for his family and ourselves."
Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson tweeted to Hayes, "Big dawg glad your [sic] back with us, was praying for you."
Hayes' agent Calvin Andrews told SI.com earlier Thursday that the Kings' initial concerns were related to an "enlarged heart," and the Sacramento Bee reported on Thursday that Hayes had been diagnosed with Pericarditis, inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart. But Hayes, 28, sought further testing at the renowned Cleveland Clinic and underwent "a full day of exhaustive testing and exams" on Wednesday, according to a statement released by BDA Sports.
"Their recommendation is that he can continue to play professional basketball without any concerns," the statement read.
"I'm just very thankful and blessed with the team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic and the power of prayer," Hayes said in the statement. "I am happy to say I have a healthy heart and have been cleared to play immediately. I look forward to getting back on the court as soon as possible."
Andrews had said early Thursday that the Kings had a "leg up" on re-signing Hayes and that they had already re-submitted an offer, but that he would listen to other suitors and likely wait at least a few days to decide. The former Houston forward-center had been discussing a possible return to the Rockets, but they signed center ex-Kings Samuel Dalembert on Wednesday and were believed to be out of the running as a result. Minnesota was also interested before Hayes signed with Sacramento on Dec. 9. Andrews said Toronto had shown interest since Hayes was cleared to play again.
"Right now, Chuck is just relieved," Andrews said. "He just wants to go home, see his family, have Christmas, and then we'll try to sort all this out."
Penguins edge Rangers in shootout for 4-3 win
Jagr moves up scoring list as Devils dump Sens 5-2