Storyline: Two-Way Contracts

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The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed guard Naz Mitrou-Long (me-TRUE) to a two-way contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. Mitrou-Long (6-4, 218, Iowa State) originally signed a two-way deal with Utah last season on Dec. 23, as well as a two 10-day contracts on Feb. 11 and Feb. 24. He appeared in one game for the Jazz, tallying three points against Denver on Dec. 26. Mitrou-Long also appeared in 40 games (35 starts) for the team’s G League affiliate the Salt Lake City Stars, averaging 18.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 35.0 minutes per game. The 24-year-old totaled 17 games with 20-plus points and four games with 30-plus points, including a Stars-record 37 points on 9-of-15 from three on March 19 against Rio Grande Valley.

Mitrou-Long has been staying in the same Salt Lake City apartment with Niang this offseason and considers the area as his second home. Returning to Utah, especially with his close friend Niang, is what he’s been working so hard for this off-season. “I’m just happy that the Jazz were so patient with me and kept contributing to the fact that they wanted to see me grow and they invested their time, their money and their knowledge into making me a better player and kept me around because they knew I had a chance to maybe seal this thing up,” Mitrou-Long said. “I’m happy I stuck around and I’m happy they kept me around for it. I feel blessed right now. I feel really good.”

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has signed guard J.P. Macura to a two-way contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Macura, an undrafted free agent from Xavier University, recorded averages of 12.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 34 games as a senior in 2017-18. The Lakeville, Minnesota, native ranked second on the squad in scoring and assists and third in rebounds per game as a senior. He ranked sixth in the Big East in steals, 11th in free-throw percentage (.821) and 14th in assists. Macura finished his college career ranked ninth on Xavier’s all-time leaderboard in free-throw percentage (.798), tenth in steals (166) and 19th in scoring (1,491).

As an undrafted free agent there are a few likely options: Signing a two-way contract with an NBA team. Signing an affiliate player contract with an NBA team. Signing a contract with a team overseas. Two-way contracts and affiliate player contracts are both very team-friendly, with little guaranteed money for the player. Both deals will have the player spending the bulk of the season, if not the entire season, in the G-League. Typically the most conservative option, from a short-term financial standpoint, would be for a player to pursue opportunities overseas as guaranteed contracts are more common.

His destiny once more pointed towards the G-League. Although the Warriors called shortly after Cook resurfaced as a free agent, offering one of Golden State’s inaugural two-way contracts, allowing players to spend upwards of 45 days on the NBA club while primarily suiting up for the team’s G-League affiliate. Cook shuttled back and forth from Oakland to Santa Cruz, often carpooling with Warriors center Damian Jones. Curry went down in December, then again in February. Cook filled the role as aptly as possible. “Quinn Cook is a fantastic example of how the system is supposed to work,” says Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations. In Golden State’s whirring egalitarian offense, Cook’s scoring and shooting prowess naturally melded. He shed the scarlet letter for a green light, complimenting old friend Durant. “He’s fallen into the perfection situation,” Resner says.

Cleveland currently has two open roster spots and has a history of signing players on the final day of the regular season for the playoffs. Kendrick Perkins is still on the Cavs’ radar and remains a possibility, sources said. Perkins played for part of this season with Cleveland’s G League affiliate in Canton but left the organization in February. The Cavs could also sign White, or take “two way” player John Holland and sign him to an NBA contract.

While Kerr had previously said that Cook would not be on the playoff roster, Cook’s play and Curry’s health might change that. Curry returned from his ankle injury last Friday against the Hawks, but that didn’t last long as he suffered a knee strain. The two-time NBA MVP is expected to miss the first round of the playoffs, according to Kerr. A source told The Undefeated that the injury-plagued Warriors are seriously considering signing Cook for the remainder of the season. Doing so would mean the Warriors would have to cut a player on their 15-man roster. Cook’s agent Jim Tanner told The Undefeated on Monday that the Warriors have not talked to him about signing his client for the rest of the season.

“I haven’t heard anything. We haven’t discussed anything,” Cook said. “I’m only controlling what I can control. I can’t control that. All I can do is keep being a great teammate and pushing guys in practice. If I have to play extended minutes, just keep playing consistent. We’re just focused on getting guys healthy, finishing the season strong and just locking into getting a great playoff run. I’ve [worried] before when I’ve tried to make teams. When you start thinking ahead and about what can happen, for me, I don’t play as well. I just like to stay in the moment and control what I can control. When you start thinking hypothetically, you don’t perform as well. I’m just staying in the moment, man.”
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July 21, 2018 | 10:37 am EDT Update
What factors are you considering in free agency? What things are most important to you as look at potential destinations? Shane Larkin: The most important thing for me is playing time. I’ve been in a lot of different situations throughout my career thus far. Sometimes I’ve played a lot of minutes, sometimes I haven’t gotten many minutes, sometimes the minutes have been very inconsistent. I’m just trying to find a team that wants me to play good minutes so that I can continue to grow and develop for their team.
Shane Larkin: To be clear, I have no problem going back to the Celtics. I loved it there this year. I loved the role I had and they have a great, up-and-coming team that’s going to be outstanding for many years. This was the most fun year I had in the NBA, the most fun I’ve had since I left college. Boston is always an option that I would be interested in, but whichever team offers me the best chance go out there and continue to grow will be my main focus in free agency. I’d love to be back in Boston, given the right circumstances, though.
July 21, 2018 | 6:57 am EDT Update
Ujiri could have seriously downplayed the reports that Leonard is unhappy to be coming to Toronto and started to try to rehabilitate the (perhaps momentary) hit his reputation has taken. He didn’t. The most Ujiri could say is that he has talked to Leonard and his representatives. “That’s my job, and I think that’s why I’m in this seat, is to try and figure that part out,” Ujiri said of selling Toronto on Leonard, a free agent in 2019 who apparently only has eyes for Los Angeles. “I’ve had conversations with Kawhi, with his agent, with his uncle and everything has gone well. I’m looking forward to meeting with them face-to-face. … Our responsibility is to figure it out and to make them as comfortable as possible and, on his part, hear more on what he wants in our team, in the future, and go from there. I take responsibility for that and I’m confident. I think we have a good game plan and we’ll see how that goes.”
If the Leonard gambit fails, the Raptors risk looking like a franchise that at once cannot keep a true star and does not know good enough when it is staring them in the face. “We’ve been doing this for how many years? You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again,” Ujiri said. “And when you get a chance to get a top-five player — which isn’t very often — I think you have to jump on it.”