To say Lester Hudson took the long route back to the NBA would be something of an understatement.
The veteran guard boarded flights from Shenyang, China, to Beijing to Chicago to his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., before discovering he had a message from his agent. The Clippers wanted to sign the two-time most valuable player of the Chinese Basketball Assn. to a 10-day contract to provide depth, with guards Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson injured.
The past met the present at the spot where the 2009 second-round draft pick of the Celtics started his NBA career. Hudson was waived midway through his rookie season and went on to brief stints with Memphis, Washington and Cleveland before becoming a three-time All-Star in China and winning MVP awards in 2014 and 2015.
Now he's been given another chance in the NBA, joining a playoff-bound team with less than three weeks left in the regular season.
"It's exciting and at the same time it's tough," said Hudson, 30, whose Clippers debut lasted all of 31 seconds in the fourth quarter because the team had to rush its starters back into the game with the Celtics rallying. "They're a great team, so I want to come in and, if possible, be the guy to cheer on the bench, to help out or whatever the role is."
Hudson took the roster spot previously occupied by Robinson, whose sore left knee dissuaded the Clippers from signing him for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expired Thursday.
But Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said there was "a strong possibility" Robinson could rejoin the Clippers if his knee improved.
"I liked what Nate brought us," Rivers said. "I liked his energy."
Hudson's basketball claim to fame was becoming the first NCAA Division I player to record a quadruple-double, which he accomplished in 2007 while playing for the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Rivers, who was Hudson's first NBA coach, said the player who averaged 31.2 points this season for the Liaoning Flying Leopards could do more than score.
"I think where he's grown is he's a better defender, he's just more mature, he's grown up," Rivers said, "and so I think he deserves another shot."
Threads of a rivalry
The Warriors forward is selling T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with "COOL STORY GLENN," a reference to Green's shot at Rivers during a radio interview this month.
Green used Rivers' given name a day after Rivers had poked fun at Green's strong reaction to being bumped by Clippers reserve Dahntay Jones while conducting a postgame interview.
Green's gear is available on athleteoriginals.com, with shirts selling for $25 and hoodies $45. Is Rivers getting a cut of the proceeds?
"I should, for sure," said Rivers, whose team plays the Warriors on Tuesday at Staples Center. "Like I said earlier, I love that I'm on his mind."
The Celtics will receive the Clippers' first-round draft pick in June as compensation for allowing Rivers out of his contract to go to Los Angeles in the summer of 2013. Was Rivers worth it to the Clippers?
"Well, we're playing our way into what I probably am worth," Rivers joked. "The more wins, the worse the pick is, so then it works out pretty good."