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Warriors sign Lester Quiñones to 10-day contract

He’s back!

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Lester Quiñones holding up three fingers in celebration next to Patrick Baldwin Jr. Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors made a move to shore up their roster on Wednesday, inking guard Lester Quiñones to a 10-day contract. The news was first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The reason for the signing is both simple and silly. Not silly on the Warriors behalf, but silly because of a quirk in the NBA’s rules.

Players on two-way contracts are allowed to play in 50 regular season games. Since teams have a pair of two-way contracts to dole out, that means they can play a combined 100 games.

But here’s where the quirk comes in: teams can only use their two-way contracts for 90 games if their roster isn’t full. In order to access the final 10 games, they need to have the 15 spots on the roster filled.

You can probably guess where this is going. After Tuesday’s comeback win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony Lamb (47 games) and Ty Jerome (43 games) have combined to play 90 games. If the Warriors want to play either on Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers, they need to add a 15th player to the roster ... and that’s where Quiñones comes in.

They also could have navigated this by simply converting Lamb or Jerome to a guaranteed contract, but it’s obvious why they didn’t do that. It makes sense to delay that decision as long as possible (especially since they could fill the spot with a buyout player), with The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reporting that the team’s choice for the 15th spot will likely be based on who Steve Kerr thinks is most needed in the playoffs.

Until then, we get Quiñones, who is a familiar name for Warriors fans. The team inked him to a two-way contract within minutes of the conclusion of the 2022 NBA Draft, where the 6’4” combo guard went undrafted. After a mediocre camp, Quiñones and fellow two-way player Quinndary Weatherspoon were dropped in favor of Lamb and Jerome, a move that looks very good now.

Quiñones has spent the season with the Warriors G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, and he’s impressed the organization along the way. He’s averaging 20.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game for Santa Cruz, while shooting 36.1% from three-point range. According to Slater, Quiñones still has a lot of believers in the Warriors front office, and his play this year could be setting him up for a two-way contract next year.

If Quiñones gets into a game over the next 10 days, it will be his NBA debut.

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