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What is the two-way contract in the NBA?

The league introduced two-way contracts in 2017 as a means of helping undrafted players secure deals with NBA teams.

The league introduced two-way contracts in 2017 as a means of helping undrafted players secure deals with NBA teams.
Barry GossageGetty

At the start of the 2017-18 season, the NBA introduced two-contracts, which allows a player to sign a guaranteed deal with an NBA franchise and play for both its NBA professional team and its G-League affiliate. For example, if a player signs a two-way deal with the Chicago Bulls, he will be able to play for Chicago’s G-League team, the Windy City Bulls.

NBA two-ways contracts explained

The two-way contract was introduced to benefit un-drafted players who do not make the cut in the NBA Draft and enables teams to keep these players “on retainer” without having to sign to a full-time contract. Players drafted during the first or second-round of an NBA draft are also often signed to two-way contracts. Two-way players are often considered to be the “16th and 17th men” on a roster. Each NBA team is allowed to offer two two-way contracts per season to players with fewer than four years of NBA experience.

Several players have signed two-way deals in the last couple of years, including Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr., who signed a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers after going unselected in the 2021 Draft, and Austin Reaves and Joel Ayayi, who both signed with the LA Lakers and played with the South Bay Lakers. This season the Lakers have brought in Scotty Pippen Jr. as one of their two allocations (see below for full list).

Two-way contract rule changes

Two-way players were originally permitted to spend 45 days per season with their NBA team but were ineligible to play in the playoffs. However as a result of the pandemic, the league permitted two-way players to become eligible for the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

From the 2020-21 season, the amount of time a two-way player could play with his NBA team was increased to 50 games, while the minimum salary for two-way contracts increased from an initial $81,955 minimum to an overall salary worth up to $449,155.

For the 2021-22 season, the NBA Board of Governors also approved changes to roster-related rules regarding the use of two-way players during the regular season.

As per that NBA communique: “For the 2021-22 season, each two-way player will be paid a flat salary equal to 50% of the minimum player salary applicable to a player with zero years of service. A player under a two-way contract will be permitted to be on the NBA team’s active list for no more than 50 games during the regular season, with no limit on practices, workouts or other activities with the NBA team.

“In addition, there will be no deadline for signing two-way contracts with respect to the 2021-22 season, a change from the rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits teams from signing a player to a two-way contract after Jan. 15 of any season.”

Which NBA players are on two-way deals in 2022/23?

For the 2022/23 season, here are the two-way players (* in first of two years):

Atlanta Hawks

Trent Forrest, G

Jarrett Culver, G

Boston Celtics

JD Davison, G

Mfiondu Kabengele, C

Brooklyn Nets

Alondes Williams, G

David Duke, G

Charlotte Hornets

Bryce McGowens, G

Theo Maledon, G

Chicago Bulls

Malcolm Hill, F

Kostas Antetokounmpo, F

Cleveland Cavaliers

Isaiah Mobley, F

Mamadi Diakite, F/C

Dallas Mavericks

Tyler Dorsey, G

McKinley Wright IV, G

Denver Nuggets

Collin Gillespie, G

Jack White, F

Detroit Pistons

Braxton Key, F

Buddy Boeheim, G

Golden State Warriors

Ty Jerome, G

Anthony Lamb, G/F

Houston Rockets

Trevor Hudgins, G

Darius Days, F

Indiana Pacers

Kendall Brown, F

Trevelin Queen, G

Los Angeles Clippers

Moussa Diabate, F

Moses Brown, C

Los Angeles Lakers

Scotty Pippen Jr., G

Cole Swider, F *

Memphis Grizzlies

Kenneth Lofton Jr., F

Vince Williams Jr., F *

Miami Heat

Jamal Cain, F

Dru Smith, G

Milwaukee Bucks

Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C

AJ Green, G

Minnesota Timberwolves

Eric Paschall, F

Luka Garza, F

New Orleans Pelicans

Dereon Seabron, G

E.J. Liddell, F *

New York Knicks

Feron Hunt, F

Trevor Keels, G

Oklahoma City Thunder

Lindy Waters III, G

Eugene Omoruyi, F

Orlando Magic

Admiral Schofield, F

Kevon Harris, G *

Philadelphia 76ers

Julian Champagnie, G/F

Michael Foster Jr., F

Phoenix Suns

Duane Washington Jr., G

Ish Wainright, F

Portland Trail Blazers

Olivier Sarr, C

John Butler, C (reported)

Sacramento Kings

Keon Ellis, G

Neemias Queta, C

San Antonio Spurs

Dominick Barlow, F

Jordan Hall, G/F *

Toronto Raptors

Ron Harper Jr., G/F

Jeff Dowtin, G

Utah Jazz

Johnny Juzang, G/F

Micah Potter, C *

Washington Wizards

Jordan Schakel, G

Jordan Goodwin, G

(h/t hoopsrumors)


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