During the off-season, one of the biggest discussion circulating around the D-League is how the new two-way contracts affect D(G)-League call-ups. Over the past few years, call-ups have continuously increased, as teams are looking for cheap end of bench players, or success stories like Hassan Whiteside. But now with the new two-way contracts will teams even look to stud D(G)-League players, since they could have two players that they can just plug into the rotation whenever they desire?
To try to get a better understanding about two-way contracts could affect the D-League, I asked a variety of different people close to the NBADL from All-Star players to title-winning head coaches.
“My take is it will definitely impact it. You add two more guys to an NBA roster so now when guys get injured or aren't playing well, you got two more players to go into your rotation or roster, to take from.” One D-League assistant coach told Ridiculous Upside.
“I think it will hurt I really do. Will there still be call-ups? Absolutely. I just think some guys will play so well, that a team will have to give him a look. But when your rosters are going from 15 to 17, that’s 60 extra players across the NBA. So I do, I think it will hurt, I don't think there will be the room to move guys up and manage rosters, when it is 17 guys.”
“It is just to many in my opinion. I think it will be good cause in actuality 60 more players will be on NBA rosters. But I do think it will hurt call-ups. What will happen is when 60 other guys are basically on NBA rosters, and the other D-League money doesn't go up, guys are just gonna say screw it and go overseas, cause they chances of getting called up will be few and far between.”
You can definitely understand where this coach is coming from but on the other end of the spectrum was D-League Coach of the Year in Jerry Stackhouse.
“I think it will have an impact, but I definitely don't believe it will end the call-ups. In some ways it could actually lead to more call-ups. My thinking is that most two-ways will be signed by a level of player who would have never considered the D-League before, which means there will still be the same level of players playing in the D-League full-time on regular contracts,” Stackhouse told Ridiculous Upside.
“There will likely be enough interesting players still existing on those regular contracts that NBA teams could call them up. And I can't imagine every team uses both of their two-way slots right off the bat, so as the season goes along some NBA teams may call-up/sign guys into those two-way spots to secure their NBA rights. Still quite a bit of uncertainty to how it will all play out.”
Stackhouse has some good points, as no one truly knows when teams will sign players to this contract. And, every year the D-League will produce one player that has to be on an NBA roster, but will it hurt it? One D-League general manager thinks so.
“Not the end but it could change from the norm. They may decrease call-ups to full time roster spots but we may see a lot of call-ups into 2-way contracts as teams convert their 2-ways into a full roster spot.”
This is the one that seems the most likely, as call-ups most likely will decrease as every team now has two more roster spots. With that why would they call up a D-League player when they have players on a two-way contract that can contribute.
And, then comes the players perspectives who like most people don’t really know what will happen.
Alfonzo McKinnie of the Windy City Bulls said this “I honestly don't know how it will affect the call up situation.” Meanwhile, Jameel Warney really had to think about it and came to this conclusion, “Ahhhh this a tough call. Probably no, because things change over the course of the season. So I don't think so, some teams will still call up players.”
Finally, comes Antwaine Wiggins, who spent his first year in the D-League and is like many people, who isn’t familiar with the two-way contract. “Not too familiar with it yet, however I believe each year the call-ups will increase. Therefore I don't believe the two-way contracts will have too much effect on the call-ups.”
After talking to all those people, the conclusion is no one truly knows how it will affect it. And no one truly knows how teams or players will react to it so it should be an interesting off-season and season with the new two-way contracts no less.