The NBA first instituted the two-way contract in 2017-18, as a means for allowing teams to have more players at their disposal, and giving fringe players an opportunity to audition for a bigger role in the league. Like most teams, the Golden State Warriors quickly got to business signing players to two-way contracts.
Still, years later, the two-way contracts can seem confusing. That’s partially because they’re so unlike the other contracts that teams give out, and partially because the rules underwent some changes during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here then, are all the questions you might have about two-way contracts — and the answers as well.
How many two-way contracts does a team have?
Teams can have up to two players on two-way contracts at a time, in addition to their 15 normally allocated roster spots.
Who is eligible for a two-way contract?
Only players who have fewer than four years of experience in the NBA can sign a two-way contract. For the sake of these contracts, “experience” means playing a game in the NBA. So even if a player has only played in four games in their career, if each of those four games occurred in different seasons, they’re ineligible for a two-way contract.
Additionally, players are limited to two years on a two-way contract with the same team.
When can a two-way contract play?
Players on two-way contracts are eligible to play in 50 of their team’s 82 games. When the contracts were initially introduced, players were limited to 45 days with the team, which included practice and travel days. The change to 50 games has greatly benefitted teams and players.
When not playing, two-way contracts can still practice with the team, travel with the team, and sit on the bench during games as an inactive member of the team. They can also spend time on the team’s G League affiliate. For Golden State, this team is the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Two-way contracts are ineligible for postseason rosters.
What is a two-way contract paid?
Players on two-way contracts are paid a flat rate that is equal to half of the league’s minimum salary. However, these contracts are not guaranteed, so the players can be cut at any point, and will only receive their salary up to that point.
Unlike in the initial years of the rule, a two-way contract’s salary does not change based on how many games they play.
What are the cap implications of a two-way contract?
There are no cap implications with two-way contracts. Only the 15 players on standard contracts count against a team’s salary cap and tax. While the team still has to pay two-way contracts, their salary cap will stay the same.
Can two-way contracts be converted?
Yes, players on two-way contracts can be converted to regular contracts, which the Warriors have done regularly. The team might choose to do this to sign a player long-term before they hit free agency, or to make them eligible for the postseason roster.
Once a two-way contract has been converted — or waived — the team can sign another two-way contract at any point.
Which Warriors have been on two-way contracts?
Here’s a history of the Warriors two-way contracts:
2017-18: Chris Boucher, Quinn Cook
2018-19: Marcus Derrickson, Damion Lee
2019-20: Ky Bowman, Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee
2020-21: Jordan Bell, Nico Mannion, Juan Toscano-Anderson
2021-22: Chris Chiozza, Jeff Dowtin, Quinndary Weatherspoon