When the Suns signed 25-year old, three-year NBA veteran Chandler Hutchison to a two-way contract this week, Suns fans familiar with two-way contracts shook their heads in confusion.
Why someone so old? Why not a rookie who’s trying to make it in the league? Why Hutchison over keeping last year’s two-way man Ty-Shon Alexander?
Because the rules around the two-way contract have changed. That’s why.
Two-way contracts allow NBA teams to carry two extra players in addition to the 15 on their regular season roster. These players generally bounce back and forth between the NBA and G League, but remain under team control and can’t be poached by rival franchises.
Traditionally, two-way contracts are reserved for young, undrafted players who might some day develop into a real NBA player with some seasoning in the G-League mixed with a dash of NBA play. In the original model, a two-way player could spend no more than 45 days with the big club a year, which is 45 out of roughly 120 possible, or 30% of the season. The other 70% of the season would be spent in the G-League or… anywhere but the NBA roster. Oh, and the pay was be a fraction of the league minimum for that reason.
Two years ago, under that original model, the Phoenix Suns used their two-way contracts on undrafted rookies Jared Harper and Tariq Owens. They were two of the five rookies to play in…