The Washington Wizards return to action after the All-Star break with their next game on Friday against the Hornets. Not long after that, they could have an important roster decision to make.
Guard Jordan McRae is nearing the end of his 45-day two-way clock. Players signed to two-way contracts are allowed a maximum of 45 days at the NBA level and McRae has only nine remaining, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Once those nine days are up, he will not be allowed to play for the Wizards until the regular season ends for the Capital City Go-Go, their G-League affiliate. The Go-Go play their final game on March 23.
After those 45 days, the Wizards would also have the option to convert McRae's two-way deal to a standard NBA contract. But it appears unlikely they will do that based on the fact they have just $153,433 separating them from the luxury tax threshold (estimate via Spotrac). They just made a pair of trades to get out of the luxury tax and have no plans of going back in.
The 45-day clock has some specific rules that could help the Wizards' cause. Travel days do not count against the 45-day limit and neither do off-days on the road. Five of the Wizards' first eight games out of the break are away from Washington.
The 45 days are also not counted until G-League training camp, which generally begins about a month after NBA camps open. So, the 45-day maximum can technically be stretched to around 70 over the course of a full NBA season.
McRae, 27, has appeared in 19 games for the Wizards after joining them as a free agent last summer. He is averaging 4.3 points in 9.1 minutes at the NBA level.
He has been a star for the Go-Go, averaging 29.9 points (most in the G-League), 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named a G-League mid-season All-Star.
Surely, McRae would like an NBA contract, but it's worth noting he gets paid more money the more time he spends with the Wizards. Two-way players can earn roughly $300,000 more by playing out their 45 allotted days in the NBA.
Also, the Wizards would like to keep him beyond this season, according to someone with knowledge of their plans. They see him as part of a growing group of players they would like to retain that is headlined by Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant. To keep McRae, they can make him a restricted free agent.
If the Wizards don't convert his contract, however, McRae will not be eligible for the playoffs this spring, if Washington is to qualify.
At this point, it appears likely the Wizards avoid McRae's 45-day clock from expiring. In order to do that, they may have to keep him down with the Go-Go for much longer than they would prefer to.
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