What are two-way contracts and how do they affect the Utah Jazz?
The Utah Jazz made news on Wednesday when they signed Johnny Juzang to a two-way contract for the upcoming 2023-2024 NBA season. Juzang will join the roster that also includes two-way players Micah Potter and Joey Hauser. The three men make up all three available spots for two-way rolls on a team.
But what is exactly a two-way contract and how will they affect the Utah Jazz heading into the 2023-2024 season?
Why do two-way contracts exist?
The two-way contract exists in the NBA so that teams don’t have to cut injured players to field a full team. An NBA team is allowed to carry 15 active players at all times. Two players will usually sit out as inactive, but should the team lose too many players to injury, they’ll have to call up someone to replace the injured players on the bench (or in the rotation).
If they were to sign someone, that would mean they’d have to cut someone. Yet, with a two-way contract player, the team doesn’t need to cut anyone, they can just bring up one of the players on this deal until the injured parties are healthy again. In which case the two-way player gets sent back down.
How many games can be played under the two-way contract?
There is a limit to how many games a two-way player is allowed to play and that limit is currently 50 for the upcoming 2023-2024 season. That’s why it’s imperative to use every player under a two-way at some point in the season, as it limits the number of games one specific player may end up playing.
How many of these contracts can an NBA team have?
Since the introduction of the two-way contract, the NBA has only allowed two players to be under such a contract. That changed in 2023-2024, as NBA teams like the Utah Jazz are now allowed to carry three players.
How do these contracts affect the roster?
Technically yes, but also technically no. The everyday roster of 15 players will not be impacted by the two-way contracts, that’s the point of them. They’re reservist contracts, designed to be mailable to fit the needs of the team. That said, while these contracts don’t affect the standing 15 contracts that an NBA team like the Utah Jazz will hand out, they do affect their own portion of the roster. An NBA team can carry 18 players total, 15 standard NBA contracts, and three two-way contracts. An NBA team doesn’t need to have all three of the two-way deals issued, but they can’t have any more than that.
What Utah Jazz players are currently on such a deal?
The Utah Jazz have three players under a two-way contract; Micah Potter, Joey Hauser, and Johnny Juzang.
Can another NBA poach a player under such a deal?
No, the purpose of the contract is to make it impossible for a player to be poached while under such a deal. Any G-League player can, mostly, be signed unless they don’t meet the age requirements or unless they’re under a two-way deal. Otherwise, they’re like any other free agent.
What happens if a two-way contracted player does well?
Let’s say Juzang, Potter or Hauser blow up over a 20-game stretch. They become so good the Jazz want to add them to the rotation permanently, are they still subject to a 50-game limit? Yes, under the two-way deal, but the Jazz could sign them to a standard NBA contract if they’re impressing the team enough. However, if they have 15 players on their active roster, one of them will have to be waived to make room for the new signing.