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The Warriors have an open two-way spot

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But they have limited time to use it.

Detroit Pistons v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

By now you’re probably aware of the moves that the Golden State Warriors made this week. With the NBA days left on Damion Lee’s two-way contract quickly approaching zero, the team cut center Marquese Chriss, who was on a non-guaranteed contract. With the money that freed up, they will convert Lee’s contract into a multi-year guaranteed deal.

Seems simple enough.

But there’s a little bit more. With Lee moving from a two-way contract into a bonafide roster spot, Golden State now has an additional two-way contract to dole out. Each team is allowed a pair of two-way contracts at any given time; Golden State had used their two on Lee and Ky Bowman.

There is a catch: If the Warriors wish to use their second two-way spot, they have to sign the player by January 15, which is the deadline for two-ways.

If the team signs someone, that player would not inherit Lee’s nearly-expired two-way contract. They would get a separate, new two-way, though it would be prorated, leaving them with fewer than 25 available days.

Two-way contracts have no impact on the salary cap, so the hard-capped Warriors don’t need to worry about the financial repercussions of assigning a new two-way contract. They just have to worry about what player makes the most sense for their long and short-term needs.

They could opt for a young, overlooked player to try and develop, or perhaps a player in the Chriss mold (or even Chriss himself). Or they could simply reward a Santa Cruz Warriors player, and keep them around for injury insurance before resetting in the summer.

This is the third year that two-way contracts have been available. In the inaugural year, in 2017-18, the Warriors used the spaces on Chris Boucher and Quinn Cook. Last year, Lee and Marcus Derrickson occupied the spots.