What is a two-way deal in the NBA?

The league has wrapped up it’s 2021 NBA Draft and the fans are soon going to witness new faces donning their team’s jerseys. However, not every prospect gets drafted and they end up signing two-way deals with NBA teams. Juan Toscano-Anderson played for the Golden State Warriors under a two-way deal and eventually earned their respect and signed a multi-year contract.

What happens when a player signs a two-way deal with an NBA team?

Jose Alvarado of Georgia Tech signed a two-way deal with the New Orleans Pelicans
Jose Alvarado of Georgia Tech signed a two-way deal with the New Orleans Pelicans

A two-way contract is when a player signs a guaranteed deal with an NBA franchise and plays for both its NBA professional team and its G-League affiliate. For example, if a player signs with the Golden State Warriors, he can be sent to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G-League.

Similarly, undrafted players like Austin Reaves and Joel Ayayi have both signed with the LA Lakers and we can expect them to don the South Bay Lakers’ jersey soon.

The standard worth of an NBA two-way deal was worth $450,000 last season. Moreover, every team is allowed two such two-way players so there are effectively 60 such spots in the league. These players are kept “on retainer” and the team may wish to re-sign or pick a new two-way player if they don’t wish to sign these players to full-time deals. These two-way players are considered the “16th and 17th man” on the roster.

Several players have signed two-way deals this season as a plethora of prospects went undrafted this year. We can expect these players to play in the G-League next season and if they impress their teams, they can soon play at the NBA’s main stage.

Also Read: Who went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft? Looking at the best prospects who weren’t picked

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