What Is A Two Way Contract In The NBA (Explained)

Key Takeaways:

  • Two-way contracts in the NBA are a new provision that allows a player to switch between the NBA team and its G League affiliate team. This helps teams to develop young talent and gives players the opportunity to play more games.
  • The NBA allows each team to have two players signed to two-way contracts at any given time. Players signed to two-way contracts can spend a maximum of 45 days with the NBA team, with the rest of the season spent with their G League affiliate team.
  • To be eligible for a two-way contract, a player must have four years of NBA experience or fewer, and cannot have more than three years of service in the NBA G League.

What is a two-way contract?

As a basketball fan, many of you have probably heard the term “two-way contract” being thrown around in recent years. But what exactly is it? To put it simply, a two-way contract is a type of deal that allows NBA teams to sign players to their G League affiliate while maintaining their rights to call them up to the NBA for a maximum of 45 days.

The NBA’s institution of two-way contracts has opened up new opportunities for players to showcase their abilities and earn a spot on a team’s roster. In this section, we’ll dive into the purpose of two-way contracts and how they have impacted the league.

NBA’s institution of two-way contracts

The NBA implemented the concept of two-way contracts to provide teams with additional roster options and increase opportunities for player development. Two-way contracts allow players to move between the NBA and G League while still under contract with their team.

The purpose is to provide flexibility and create a pathway for young players to develop their skills and potentially earn an NBA contract. The rules and regulations surrounding two-way contracts limit their number, eligibility requirements, duration, and restrictions on playing in games or participating in team activities.

The terms of two-way contracts also include restrictions on postseason rosters and specific salary structures that differ from regular contracts.

Additionally, the conversion of two-way contracts to regular ones can happen under certain circumstances, such as when a player has played more than 50 games or spent 15 or more days on an active NBA roster during the season. Golden State Warriors have consistently utilized two-way contracts since their introduction.

Two-way contracts: because getting benched in the NBA is better than being benched in the G League.

Purpose of two-way contracts

Two-way contracts have been established in the NBA to serve a dual purpose. First, they allow NBA teams to sign players to a flexible contract with other leagues while keeping their ability to recall a player from that team at any time.

Second, they are an opportunity for young players to gain experience by playing in the G League while still under their parent team’s rights. In this way, two-way contracts benefit both teams and players by providing additional opportunities for career and skill growth within the NBA landscape.

Furthermore, two-way contracts allow teams to retain control of young and developing talent for longer periods before fully committing them to the NBA roster. These contracts allow organizations more flexibility in development decisions for their prospects while still allowing those same players access and opportunity towards achieving their ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.

In addition, two-way contracts place restrictions on how much time a player can spend on an active NBA roster during their contract duration. This regulation makes it so teams must balance traditional roster spots with these contracted two-ways actively increasing competition among bench units.

Two-way contracts may seem flexible, but there are strict limits on how many a team can have at a time.

Rules and Regulations of Two-Way Contracts

As I began to learn more about pursuing a career in the NBA, I found the world of two-way contracts to be complex and dynamic.

For those looking for a chance to play at the highest level of basketball, understanding the rules and regulations surrounding two-way contracts is crucial. In this part, we’ll explore key aspects of two-way contracts, including the maximum limit of two-way contracts, eligibility requirements for signing a two-way contract, and the duration and restrictions of these unique agreements. Let’s dive in and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to thrive in the NBA.

Limit of two-way contracts

Two-way contracts in the NBA are subject to a specific limit that teams must follow. The restrictions highlight the maximum number of players who can be signed to two-way contracts during a single season.

As per the rules, an NBA team is allowed to have no more than two players on two-way contracts at any given time during a season. The restriction has been put in place to ensure that players do not take up too many roster spots, thereby hampering the flexibility of teams when it comes to player rotations and transfers.

Apart from the above limitation, there are additional restrictions involved with these contracts, such as eligibility and playing time restrictions. Players who sign a two-way contract cannot spend more than 45 days on their NBA team’s roster outside of training camps and league games.

In unique circumstances, waivers may be granted for such situations. If at any point during the season both parties feel they need to end their relationship, they are free to do so without repercussions.

In the 2017-2018 season, the Golden State Warriors worked out deals with Quinn Cook and Chris Boucher on two-way contracts. Both were significant contributors towards their playoff run after converting from two-way deals to regular rosters.

Eligibility to sign a two-way contract

Players who meet certain criteria are eligible to sign a two-way contract in the NBA. These contracts allow them to split their time between an NBA team and its G League affiliate.

Eligible players must have four or fewer years of NBA experience, and cannot have been on an NBA roster for more than 45 days during the previous season. In addition, players can only sign two-way contracts with the team that holds their G League rights.

To be considered for a two-way contract, players must also receive an invitation to attend either an NBA Summer League or training camp with an organization. After being offered a contract, they have 45 days of eligibility to be active with the NBA team while the remaining portion of their season is spent in the G League.

It’s worth noting that teams can only have a maximum of two players signed to two-way contracts at any given time. Additionally, if a player on a two-way contract reaches 50 games played (including non-active games), then he may not play again until his NBA team’s regular season ends.

Contracts duration and restrictions

This section pertains to the specific time period and limitations of two-way contracts allowed under NBA regulations. The players on a two-way contract have different parameters compared to full-time NBA players.

Two-Way contracts are allowed for each season of playThe maximum number of days a player can spend with an NBA team is 45 days, after which they must return to their G League team.
If a team would like to sign the Two-Way player for rest of the season, then it will be converted into standard players’ contract.

It is important to understand that these contracts allow for players to gain valuable experience in both leagues while allowing teams flexibility in their rosters.

Terms and Conditions of Two-Way Contracts

As an avid NBA fan, I’m always curious about the inner workings of contracts and player deals. One such contract that has recently gained attention is the two-way contract.

These contracts offer an interesting opportunity for players and teams alike, but they come with their own set of terms and conditions. In this section, we’ll take a deeper dive into the restrictions that come with two-way contracts, such as limitations on playing time and participation in team activities.

We’ll also explore the salary and payment structures, as well as the cap implications of these agreements.

Restrictions on playing in games

Players under a two-way contract face restrictions on their participation in NBA games. These restrictions are put in place to maintain fairness and equal opportunities for all players. Specifically, players on two-way contracts can only be active for up to 50 games throughout a season, meaning they may not always be available to play.

Additionally, time spent with the NBA team counts towards this limit regardless of whether or not the player sees game-time action.

Moreover, some restrictions prevent players on two-way contracts from playing during certain circumstances such as when the NBA team is on a road trip or if they have already played three games in five days. These limitations ensure that there is no overuse or abuse of a team’s two-way contract players.

It’s crucial to note that although these restrictions exist, they do not limit the potential for success under a two-way contract. In fact, it provides an opportunity for these players to showcase their skills and work ethic with cautious care taken regarding injury risk.

Participation in team activities

  • Players on two-way contracts are allowed to participate in practices, training sessions, and other team development activities.
  • They can take part in meetings held for game preparation and analysis; they just cannot play during the games themselves unless their regular NBA contracts permit them.
  • In addition, they can use several facilities that the NBA organization provides for team members such as gymnasiums, weight rooms, and medical centers provided they have authorization from both the coach and general manager.
  • Team activities also include community service events like charity work, philanthropy programs, and youth basketball clinics around their locality. There are no restrictions on participating in these social services for players on two-way contracts.
  • Evaluation camps or tryouts are critical parts of team activities. Players who sign a two-way contract will be part of the main roster’s evaluation process and play exhibition games against other professional teams affiliated with the NBA or G-League(Two-Way Contracts’ League) when opportunities arise.

It is important to note that players under two-way contracts must follow strict regulations when it comes to playing in games and participating in different types of related activities. These limitations extend beyond participation policies within their organizations since postseason roster eligibility is out of bounds for those signed on this type of contract.

To avoid missing out on experiences that could make or break an emerging player’s career, having guidelines ensures consistency across all CDC franchises. Teams believe this system creates discipline and protects new talent from exploitation while allowing experienced individuals to showcase their skills.

Sorry, two-way players, no postseason for you – kind of like being the designated driver at a party.

Ineligibility in postseason rosters

Players who signed two-way contracts with NBA teams have restrictions on their participation in postseason rosters. They are ineligible to play in the playoffs if they have already exceeded the 45-day limit of playing with their NBA team. This rule is imposed to maintain competitive balance and fairness in the league.

The ineligibility of players on two-way contracts in postseason rosters is an essential aspect that determines the level of competition for each team. Players on these contracts may perform well during the regular season but may not be able to add value to their team’s playoff run, affecting a team’s chances of winning championships.

It is crucial for teams to balance their roster throughout the season and plan accordingly when it comes to utilizing their two-way contract players, ensuring that they will be eligible for postseason play.

Exploring alternate contract structures could benefit both players and teams by allowing qualifying players greater opportunity to contribute to a playoff run while keeping continuity throughout the entire season.

Two-way contracts offer a salary that’s not quite NBA level, but at least it’s better than minimum wage.

Salary and payment structures

Basketball players signed on two-way contracts receive a different salary and payment structure than regular NBA players. Here are the details of the salary and payment structures associated with two-way contracts:

  • Players signed under a two-way contract receive a pro-rated NBA rookie minimum salary based on the number of days spent on an NBA roster.
  • The maximum amount a player can earn under this contract is $449,115 for the year 2020-21.
  • A player’s signing bonus cannot exceed $50,000.
  • Two-way players’ salaries are not included in the team’s payroll for salary cap reasons or luxury tax calculations.
  • Two-Way signees are entitled to 45 days with their affiliate club during the regular season.
  • If they exceed that limit, they will be compensated at a different rate, and it may result in a loss of eligibility to participate in games or practices; however, this does not include any time in the G League bubble format for 2021

It is also essential to note that teams cannot pay two-way players more than what is stated in their contract. Such compensation could result in penalties by the league or even revoking their right to sign such contracts.

It’s important to mention that unlike other NBA contracts, Two-Way contracts do not have any team or player options. Consequently, the terms of these deals cannot change unless the contract gets converted into an NBA standard deal.

In Conclusion:

Two-Way Contracts were introduced by the NBA as it offers younger players who don’t meet veteran status standards an opportunity to play some professional basketball games while still developing their skills. According to NBC Sports Bay Area (nbcsports.com), Jordan Poole-Point Guard and Juan Toscano-Anderson-Small Forward were signed onto Two-Way contracts for 2020-21 seasons by GS Warriors.

Two-way contracts may be a cheap option for teams, but their cap implications could leave GMs feeling like they just fouled out.

Cap implications of two-way contracts

When it comes to the cap implications of two-way contracts in the NBA, several factors come into play. The signing of these contracts can affect a team’s salary cap situation, and it is essential for teams to understand these implications before signing players.

To better understand the cap implications of two-way contracts, we can refer to the following table:

Two-way ContractCount
Max Salary$449,115
Days Allowed45 days
NBA Games AllowedMaximum of 50

As shown in the above table, teams are only permitted to offer a two-way contract to up to two players at any given time. These contracts must adhere to specific restrictions on player salaries and playing time that are different from those of regular contracts.

Furthermore, two-way contract players only receive a pro-rated salary based on how many days they spend with their respective NBA team. They only earn the maximum amount if they are with the team for every single day that they are allowed under their contract.

The remaining days spent in the G League results in them earning less than the maximum salary or even below their minimum pay level when not playing games.

Conversion of Two-Way Contracts

With the NBA’s new G-League season just around the corner, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the most talented athletes put their skills to the test. One of the most talked-about topics going into this season is the conversion of two-way contracts.

In this part of the article, let’s talk about what this means for players. We’ll discuss the conversion process from “two-way” to full-time contracts and what it implies. Additionally, we’ll talk about the signing of new two-way contracts after the conversion or waiving and what players should expect.

Conversion to regular contracts

In the NBA, two-way contracts are designed to provide teams with flexibility while simultaneously allowing players to accrue significant playing time in both the NBA and G League. If a player exceeds his maximum allowable days of service under their two-way contract, he is subject to being converted onto an NBA roster as a full-time player.

This conversion to regular contracts can be completed at any point throughout the season as long as the player meets all requirements for his current contract and is not subject to waivers or release.

During a conversion from a two-way contract to regular contracts, the NBA team is required to sign a new agreement with the player that reflects his new status as a full-time NBA player. The terms of this agreement will depend on factors such as salary cap space and luxury tax thresholds, league-wide standards for minimum salaries and benefits, and whether the player has proven himself worthy of additional guaranteed money or incentives beyond his original two-way deal.

It is important to note that there are restrictions on converting two-way contracts mid-season. For example, NBA teams may only transfer players within their first year on one-year deals back up-and-down between the G League and Association once they’ve begun declaring open roster spots following February’s trade deadline.

Signing of new two-way contracts after conversion or waiving

After a two-way contract is converted or waived, teams can sign new two-way deals as per the NBA rules and regulations. Here are six points concerning the signing of new two-way contracts after conversion or waiving:

  • Teams can sign players who weren’t previously on their roster.
  • Contracts are typically one-year deals.
  • Players must meet eligibility requirements for two-way contracts.
  • New contracts have salary restrictions based on a player’s years of service.
  • Cap implications apply to each team when multiple players sign new two-way contracts.
  • Ineligible players cannot participate in games or engage in team activities until eligible for a new contract.


Two-way contracts hold undeniable importance in the NBA, granting teams greater roster flexibility and giving players the opportunity to improve their skills in both the NBA and G League. These contracts provide a pathway for young players to make the leap to the NBA, without sacrificing the potential for growth in the G League.

The NBA’s two-way contract system has been effective in providing teams with talented players, while simultaneously giving those players valuable experience. These contracts have become increasingly popular in recent years, with almost every NBA team utilizing them to some extent.

FAQs about What Is A Two Way Contract In The Nba

What is a two-way contract in the NBA?

A two-way contract is a type of contract in the NBA that allows a team to have up to two players on a separate roster who can switch between the NBA and its G League affiliate. Two-way players earn a lower salary than regular NBA players and are limited to playing in 50 games of their team’s 82 regular-season games.

How many two-way contracts can a team have?

A team can have up to two players on two-way contracts in addition to their 15-man regular roster.

What are the eligibility criteria for a two-way contract?

Only players with fewer than four years of experience in the NBA can sign a two-way contract. Experience refers to playing a game in the NBA, and players are limited to two years on a two-way contract with the same team.

What is the pay for a two-way contract player?

Players on two-way contracts earn a flat rate equal to half of the league’s minimum salary. These contracts are not guaranteed, so the players can be cut at any point and will only receive their salary up to that point.

Can two-way contracts be converted to regular contracts?

Yes, players on two-way contracts can be converted to regular contracts. 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.

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.

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