Need a Temp? Call Jerry Stackhouse
He's off to a good start since he wears a green uniform like those temporary workers of yore.
Stackhouse, 35, joined the Milwaukee Bucks midway through the season after receiving no offers previously for a guaranteed contract. Stackhouse is averaging 8.1 points for a team that is 23-8 since he first suited up Jan. 20.
It's gone so well Stackhouse is thinking he'd like to continue with this job of being a temporary NBA player. So next season, in order to keep additional wear and tear off his aging body, he might again wait until the campaign is half over to join a team.
"I might just try to do the same route I did this year,'' said the shooting guard, who signed Jan. 18 after Milwaukee had lost starting shooting guard Michael Redd for the season due to a knee injury. "Just kind of catch on, hook on (midway through next season) to rest the legs a little bit longer.''
Other than with Kelly, part time jobs have included such duties as being a paper boy, mowing lawns or serving as a waiter at a Catskills resort. Stackhouse would like to add NBA player to that category.
It's been done before that an older player joins an NBA team midway through a season and makes an impact down the stretch and into the playoffs. One recent example was big man P.J. Brown, who had been contemplating retirement, signed with Boston in February 2008 and helped the Celtics four months later to an NBA title.
But to have the same NBA player do it in successive seasons and do it as a planned move would be unique. It did happen in baseball in the last decade when aging Roger Clemens would miss the first half of the season and become active for the second half.
"I don't know if it works with every team,'' Stackhouse, a 15-year veteran, said of again joining an outfit midway through next season. "But it would be able to work with some teams. I could provide a spark for a team. It could work for guys as they continue to get older. Is playing all of an 82-game season really worthwhile, with what your body needs and with training camp and the pounding? I think I feel like I still can do it. But I've got to be realistic as I wind down my career.''
It's highly doubtful an NBA team would be willing to pay a player a full season's salary, which is what Clemens got, and have him sit home and miss the first half. But one supposes a team could have a prearranged deal to sign Stackhouse midway through the campaign.
As to whether Milwaukee might be willing to do the same thing again next season with Stackhouse, general manager John Hammond said it's "too far down the line to able to talk about at this time.'' Still, Hammond doesn't rule out the theory of a player becoming a part-time worker in his late 30s.
"I think it is a possibility, and obviously it's proven that it's worked this year,'' Hammond said. "It's almost like a godsend for us, when Michael went down, to have an opportunity to sign Jerry. We've talked about a lot of things that have gone right for this team. One of them is adding Jerry Stackhouse to the roster.''
The Bucks are 8-2 when Stackhouse scores in double figures. He comes off the bench and averages 20 minutes, which he said is fine at this stage of his career.
"It's great,'' Stackhouse said about feeling better now than if he had been playing the entire season. "I don't have the nicks and things that you know you're back playing basketball. For the most part, I'm fresher right now than if I would have been there in October.''
Still, there is something that could foil Stackhouse's possible plan of being a part-time player. He said it would be hard to turn down a guaranteed contract if one is presented over the summer for a full season.
But, in this economy, that's not a highly likely scenario. And Stackhouse isn't about to show up next fall for training camp on a make-good deal.
"I'm not ever going to anybody's team non-guaranteed,'' said Stackhouse, who has an NBA career scoring average of 18.1.
So Stackhouse might just begin next season again on the sidelines and, come the middle of winter, see who needs a shooting guard.
Two years ago, the Celtics who were in need of a reserve big man, and Brown, then 38, came to their rescue. He averaged 2.2 points and 3.8 rebounds over 11.7 minutes late in the regular season when the Celtics were primarily getting him ready for the playoffs.
In the postseason, Brown, whose value extended beyond statistics, averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes as the Celtics won the title. He was at his best in the Finals, averaging 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.5 minutes in the six-game win over the Lakers.
"It's easier to fit veterans in because they know how to play,'' said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "We were really patient with P.J. I don't know if we activated him for a while (Brown signed Feb. 27 and first played March 7). He was there for a while, and we just let him practice every day and work out. He was huge for us.''
So perhaps the Celtics can give thanks for their 17th title to a Kelly guy. Like Stackhouse, he also wore green.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson.