The new collective bargaining rules that allow for two-way contracts for players with less than three years’ experience to go between the D-League and their NBA team create options for the Wizards who hold the No. 52 pick in this month’s draft.
Teams have been allowed to have a maximum of 15 players under contract but that has increased by two under the 2017 CBA. That means teams in general, including the Wizards, could be less likely to trade their second round picks -- or those picks will could more value if they do move them -- that usually need time to develop.
Dez Wells, a guard from the University of Maryland who played briefly for the Wizards in summer league two years ago and with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s D-League team, has more incentive to stay stateside rather than going to play in Germany. Or if Maryland's Melo Trimble, who worked out for the Wizards last week, is acquired and needs time to develop there's more flexibility.
“It’s important for guys to not be tempted to go overseas,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told CSNmidatlantic.com on Tuesday. “You can make a decent living, have a chance to be in front of us and be developed by us.”
In the past, if a player was sent from his parent NBA team to the D-League during the season – the Wizards shipped Sheldon Mac (formerly McClellan) to the Delaware 87ers on multiple occasions and Chris McCullough to the Northern Arizona Suns -- the team didn't gain an open roster spot. That player would still occupy a roster spot among the 15 and get paid their NBA salary while playing in the second division.
Two-way players earn higher salaries than D-League players without these gateway deals. But a two-way player only can be in NBA training camp and with the NBA team for a maximum of 45 days during the regular season. If he reaches the limit and they want his services beyond that, his contract has to be converted to a full NBA deal.
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In his first season with the Wizards, Brooks has put significant emphasis on developing undrafted rookies Mac, Daniel Ochefu and Danuel House before the latter was released. And that can be done with an eye to the future without being forced to choose between them and a veteran for a short-term run.
And for a 49-win team like the Wizards this season, and their teams that won 44 and 46 games in 2014 and '15, they usually can't wait if they hope to advance in the playoffs. A 35-year-old such as Rasual Butler, for instance, is a greater need than a 22-year-old second-round pick who is loaded with question marks.
Not having their own D-League team is a major part of that equation as the Wizards are one of five teams without their own affiliate or a one-to-one relationship. When a new practice facility is opened in 2018, that loophole is expected to be closed by majority owner Ted Leonsis.
“I think it’s an interesting concept," Brooks said. "I don't know how it's going to work yet."
The Wizards sold their second-round draft pick in 2014 and dealt theirs in 2016 to move up to get Kelly Oubre the previous season.
The next one is June 22.
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