With all the challenges the pandemic brought to NBA rosters last season, the league relaxed its rules on the use of two-way players (players under team control who can bounce between the G-League and big club). Two-way players could play in up to 50 NBA games at first, then that was loosened again and they could play in an unlimited number of games and the playoffs (pre-pandemic, a two-way player could only be on the NBA roster for 45 days).
Front offices loved the flexibility, and since the pandemic is lessened but still with us, most of those rules will be back next year, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN.
Subject to a final agreement with the NBA, players have agreed to keep a majority of the current Two-Way rules for the 2021-22 season, sources tell ESPN. The one change is that a Two-Way player is not eligible for the 2022 playoffs unless his contract is converted.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 16, 2021
There were a number of two-way contract players that played a significant role for their teams last season: Juan Toscano-Anderson with the Warriors, P.J. Dozier with the Nuggets, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus with the Heat, Yuta Watanabe with the Raptors, and Jordan McLaughlin of the Timberwolves, among others.
These relaxed rules are great for teams, especially if they lose players for stretches due to COVID-19 or injuries — the two-way players don’t count against the 15-man roster, essentially making a 17-man team for coaches to draw from.
The rules are less good for the players. In the case of Toscano-Anderson or Dozier or the other players listed above, teams could keep them on the cheaper two-way contract salary — about half of the league minimum salary for a young roster player — and there was no motivation during the season to pay them the going rate for a roster player. Teams saved money and didn’t have to make other roster cuts or hard decisions, and now they will not have to next season, either.