NBA Rumor: Two-Way Contracts

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With each performance like Friday’s, Stevens continues to earn Bickerstaff’s trust. And with the small forward spot currently in flux — Windler on a cold streak, Cedi Osman continuing to struggle, Taurean Prince sidelined with an injured shoulder — Stevens gets closer to having his two-way contract converted, something sources say has already been discussed. “Being in my position, coach called me in and to do any job is an honor,” Stevens said. “Just do it with pride. I’m really confident in my scoring ability. That’s never really wavered for me. It’s just continuing to grow my game and I can’t really put a cap on that.”

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA is now discussing adding a third two-way roster spot with the NBPA. This would bring the total roster size to 18, adding on one more player who can have a maximum of three years of NBA service and is limited to playing in 50 regular-season games. Speaking with coaches and GMs across the league, The Athletic found a mix of strong support and ambivalence over the measure after the league had to postpone 12 games in the past week. “Me personally, I think that’s a great idea,” said Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford. “I think that playing with the condensed schedule as we are, I think the more bodies we have, the better. If you look at the games where teams are having to play with eight guys, the number of minutes is adding up, and I just think it’s difficult. It’s difficult to manage games, and it’s difficult to manage teams over a prolonged period of time.”

Raptors sign Paul Watson to standard contract

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday they have signed forward Paul Watson to a standard NBA contract and forward Yuta Watanabe to a two-way player contract. Watson originally signed a two-way player contract with the club Jan. 15, 2020. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Watson, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, averaged 3.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 8.7 minutes in 10 games with Atlanta and Toronto last season. He set career highs with 22 points (8-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 2-3 FT) and six rebounds in 27 minutes in the regular season finale Aug. 14 vs. Denver. Watson also appeared in 30 games with Raptors 905 in the NBA G League where he averaged 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 35.3 minutes. For his efforts Watson was named to All-NBA G League Midseason Eastern Conference Team.

Heat converts Max Strus to two-way deal

The Miami Heat’s roster was pretty much set entering training camp, with the regular-season maximum of 15 players already under standard contracts. But there was one Heat roster spot that remained unfilled: a two-way contract opportunity. The Heat awarded that open roster spot to wing Max Strus (6-5, 215), announcing Saturday that it converted his Exhibit 10 deal to a two-way contract. Strus joins guard Gabe Vincent as the Heat’s two two-way contract players entering Wednesday’s regular-season opener against the Magic in Orlando.

The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Markus Howard to a two-way contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today. Howard, 5-11, 180, went undrafted in the 2020 NBA draft after a prolific four-year career at Marquette University. In 29 games (all starts) as a senior in 2019-20, Howard led the nation in scoring, averaging 27.8 points per game, adding 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists, shooting 44.4% from the field and 41.2% from three in 33.2 minutes. He was unanimously named to the 2019-20 All-America First Team.
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June 16, 2021 | 6:40 am EDT Update

Nikola Jokic passes on Olympic Games

Denver Nuggets star and 2020-21 NBA season MVP Nikola Jokic will not join the Serbian selection for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament nor for the Olympics in case the team qualifies, the player informed Wednesday, via a statement on Serbian state news agency Tanjug. “To my great regret, this is the moment when I have to announce that despite my great desire, I am not able to play for the national team. Simply, the condition of my body requires a longer absence from the court to recover. I have to accept that. I am sure that the guys have the quality to make a result without me, which will bring us all a lot of joy”, Jokic mentioned in his statement.

Mario Hezonja back to Barça?

Mario Hezonja’s return to Europe with Panathinaikos after spending five seasons in the NBA has caught the attention of his former club FC Barcelona, which is looking to bring back the Croatian player next season. As reported by SER’s Pacojo Delgado, the 2021 Liga Endesa champions are close to bringing 26-year-old Hezonja back. On top of that, Barcelona has asked Cory Higgins for a 10% salary cut, and the player is likely to refuse and move on to Olimpia Milano.
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June 16, 2021 | 1:47 am EDT Update