By Luke Laster
Fringe players, or players who have the potential to compete at an NBA level, will now have the chance to do so by becoming the 16th and 17th players on an NBA roster. Teams are doing this with two-way contracts, which will be implemented for the 2017-18 season. These contracts allow players to spend up to a maximum of 45 days on an NBA roster while the remainder of their time will be spent on an NBA organizations G League affiliate team.
With the rapid growth of the G League, formerly known as the D-League (Development league), the NBA is looking to keep their young talent in the country, as opposed to signing a contract to play overseas. If a player on a two year, two-way contract plays the full 45 days in the NBA he could earn about $204,000 since an NBA rookie minimum contract is worth about $816,000. For the remainder of the player’s time in the G-League, the player would make $75,000. It is also important to note that these contracts do not count against the NBA team’s salary cap.
At the start of the 2017-18 season, the NBA will now have 26 G league affiliate teams and both the NBA and G League will continue to expand as more money and opportunity will become available to players looking for an NBA contract.
The Drive Effect: Luis Montero
The Detroit Pistons currently have one player under a two-way contract with the Grand Rapids Drive. As of July 24th, the Pistons signed Dominican Guard Luis Montero to one of their two available two-way contracts. Montero, a 6’7” shooting guard who played one year at Westchester Community College (2013-14) has experience in both NBA and G League games.
Last season, he played 49 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Reno Bighorns. He averaged 8.8 points, 6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in 36 games before getting traded to the Bighorns where he averaged 8.8 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 13 games. He has 12 games of NBA experience with the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2015-16 season where he averaged 1.2 points a game.