What is a Two-Way Contract and how will they be used in the NBA?
The two-way contract is a step in the right direction for the NBA and it’s development of players. Here is a breakdown of how they will work.
The new “Two-Way” contract is a work of progress.
A contract that increases the maximum number of players an NBA team can have. The team number essentially moves up from 15 to 17. Two years is the maximum length of any such deal. Look at it this way, its a G-League deal with NBA privileges. A team does not need to worry about salary cap room or exceptions because they do not count against an NBA team’s salary cap.
Two-ways salary can change depending on if a player is in the G-League or on an NBA assignment. When a player is in the NBA, he’ll receive the prorated portion of the minimum salary for a player with his years of experience. When a player is in the G-League, he’ll receive a daily prorated G-League salary. This year, the amount will start at $75,000. It will increase 3% every year.
Not everyone will qualify for a two-way contract.
Any player with fewer than four years in the NBA is eligible for a two-way deal. Four years of league experience is the maximum time allowed for such a deal. A player who has been designated on a two-way deal cannot sign another two-way contract. A player with two years and six months would only be eligible for a two-way deal, only if they would not exceed the four year mark within the timeline of the deal. So in that situation, the player would only be eligible for a one year deal. Teams can sign overseas players as well but can not pay for a buyout clause. The deadline to sign a player to a two-way deal is January 15th.
After agreeing to a deal, a player is limited to certain conditions of a two-way contract for the season.
If a player is on a two-way contract, he can spend no more than 45 regular-season “action” days on an NBA roster. That doesn’t include time spent with an NBA team in training camp. It also doesn’t include time spent with an NBA team before the G-League season begins or after it ends.
Action days are defined as days where a player is physically with the team when the G-League season is underway. This includes travel days, practices, workouts, and game days regardless if they play in the game or not.
In a situation where a two-way contract is converted to a regular NBA deal, the typical 15-man roster rules would apply to that player. A player can not go back to a two-way deal once they sign a NBA deal that year.
A player on a two-way deal can not play with a NBA team in the playoffs.
Teams have the option to trade players signed to two-way contracts.
Players on two-way contracts can be included in trades but not within 30 days of signing a two-way contract.
Players on two-way deals gain Bird rights toward free agency with the home team. After two seasons with a team on a two-way, that team would have Early Bird rights to re-sign that player.
If a two-way player contract expires, they will be eligible for restricted free agency if he spent at least 15 days on NBA assignment in the last season of the two-way contract. If not, then they become an unrestricted free agent.