Sadly for Warriors fans it appears Myers misspoke, and Cook’s two-way contract is only for one year. Given it’s the first year for these two-way contracts, it’s easy to get a little mixed up, as I know only too well.
To clear up Quinn Cook's situation: His two-way contract expires at the end of June, which would lead him to restricted free agency, even if he is moved to the Warriors' regular roster for the playoffs...— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) March 22, 2018
So where does that leave the Warriors in regard to Cook?
Well, it’s complicated. Cap guru Danny Leroux wrote an in-depth piece for The Athletic yesterday on Cook’s contract situation that is well worth reading in full. The long and short of it is that two-way players become restricted free agents at the end of the season and the qualifying offer is another two-way contract.
But, given the latest act of vengeance from the basketball gods (why???) Cook’s a lock to be on the playoff roster. This means giving him a guaranteed contract and cutting someone else. They’ve got until the last day of the season to make a decision on who to cut, but the Warriors are going to need him.
The Warriors will have some protection
If (more likely when) Cook is signed for the playoff roster, the Warriors would have some protection in the offseason because the CBA states that if a player has less than four years experience he becomes a restricted free agent. Cook’s qualifying offer coming off a guaranteed minimum deal is 125% of his previous minimum salary.
Before anyone gets too excited this rule doesn’t apply to Kevon Looney as the Warriors didn’t pick up his rookie option. The most they can pay him is what that option would have been, which is an increase over the minimum, but may not be enough. Anyway, I digress. That’s one for another day.
But in Cook’s case this means the Warriors can match offers above the qualifying offer if they have the room (they won’t) or use an exception (they will almost certainly only have the taxpayer mid level exception and will probably have other plans for that).
Interestingly Danny Leroux posits a scenario where the Warriors use what leverage they do have to get Cook to sign a deal with some guaranteed money for next year. (Oh, and in this piece he says that Chris Boucher is on a two-year deal).
The market is on the Warriors side
Cook’s play will likely see him receive some interest from other teams, especially if he gets big playoff minutes with Steph Curry sidelined for a while.
However, with the market for free agents very tight the next couple of years, the Warriors will have an advantage. As previous Warriors role players like Ian Clark and James Michael McAdoo found out, excelling on the Warriors bench does not automatically mean big bucks.
So whilst it’s not locked in he’ll be back, there’s still a decent chance Cook will be in a Warriors uniform for a while yet.
For now let’s just hope and pray that Curry is able to get back soon, and that Cook can hold down the fort in his absence.