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Should Players Sign Two-Year Two-Way Contracts?

With the addition of the two-way contract, many are questioning why players are signing two-year deals

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Los Angeles Lakers v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With the addition of the two-way contract to the NBA, the first question was how would players, teams, and agents react to it. To start off with the players, it seems that at that very beginning many players were confused even what it was. However, some players did indeed like the idea because they could make similar money as overseas and not have to go overseas. For agents and teams, it is kind of mixed in together, as agents and teams are in agreement it seems like that all NBA teams will max out the two-ways so all the players make the max 275k.

But the next question is what happens if a player outperforms the contract. If that were the case and the team had room on the roster they would turn the two-way contract into an NBA contract, but what happens if they don’t? That player is now only making 275 thousand max when he could be making at least 1 million. What if that player signed a two-year deal and is now stuck. That is why many including myself were scratching their heads when we heard players are signing two-year two-way contracts.

I spoke to one G League executive about if he thinks players should sign two-year two-way contracts and had this to say: “They can be converted to NBA minimums if they outperform and the NBA team wants them for more than 45 days,” the executive explained to Ridiculous Upside. Don’t see a downside in locking yourself into half a million dollars if you’re a borderline guy or have another issue (injury, etc,)” said the executive.

“None of these guys are considered very likely for that to happen to, [talking about outperforming it and getting more in free agency]. You could say the same for every undrafted guy that takes a 3-year deal in the NBA for low money. Hard to say no to real money when you could just as likely be jobless after a year. And the commitment to summer league, multiple training camps, and off-season training.”

The executive did say a lot of strong points about how it is hard to turn down half a million dollars of two seasons, and it guarantees you at least two NBA training camps, summer league etc. And the more time you are around NBA players and the team the better you will get. It definitely makes a bit of sense for a player with injury history or recovering from an injury to take a two-year deal as they can use the NBA trainers to help heal and recover.

A good example of a player that probably needs to do sign a two-year two-way deal is former Xavier guard and current Indiana Pacer Edmond Sumner. On January 30th, Sumner suffered a torn ACL in a Big East game against St. John’s. Not only did that knee injury end his season, it prevented him from preparing for the NBA Draft.

I believe it was in Summer’s best interest to sign a two-year two-way contract because the injury was so severe he is pretty much taking his rookie season as a year to heal and get back into shape. Meaning the second year of his two-way contract is pretty much his first season in the NBA.

After talking to the executive I decided I needed one more opinion so I talked to a G League coach about players taking two-year two-way contracts. That coach had this to say: “I would say anytime a player can get locked into an NBA organization and practice with that team and learn their terminology and schemes,” that coach told Ridiculous Upside. “It puts them ahead of the next guy in regard to landing a permanent position. But I do think it is a risk as it is hard to make a team and get en-grained into an organization I think in most instance the player should take the sure thing.”

After talking to the executive and the coach it truly changed my opinion, as when I saw players are signing two-year two-way, I thought that there were really no positives. However, it is a chance to be on an NBA roster and be the next man up and if they do outperform the contract chances are the NBA team will turn the contract into an NBA contract. And if they don’t well that player can get paid in two years.

I believe if a player isn’t hurt or recovering from an injury the player shouldn’t sign a two-year two-way contract. I think that because if a player outperforms it, he may be stuck on a two-way like mentioned above. Secondly for job security, if the player is that bad a team will cut him and the money isn’t guaranteed so is it really worth it to sign it? For now, we will have to wait and see how the two-year two-way contracts turn out.