As we’ve noted in several stories leading up to today, March 1 is the last day that a player can be waived and retain his playoff eligibility for a new club. Any player released after Thursday night at 11:59pm ET can still sign with another NBA team once he clears waivers, but he wouldn’t be able to participate in the postseason with his new club.
While these rules are fairly clear for players on standard NBA contracts, how exactly do they affect players on two-way contracts? Let’s take a closer look…
Players on two-way contracts aren’t eligible for the postseason.
We’ll start with the simplest rule — a player on a two-way contract can’t play for his team in the postseason, even if he hasn’t used up his full allotment of 45 NBA days. A two-way player can travel and practice with the team during the playoffs, but has to remain on the inactive list during games.
Two-way players waived after March 1 aren’t eligible to play in the postseason for a new team.
The same waiver rules that apply to players on standard NBA contracts apply to players on two-way deals when it comes to playoff eligibility. If a player on a two-way contract isn’t waived by the end of the day today, he won’t be eligible to join another team for the postseason.
While these first two rules significantly restrict the ability of two-way players to participate in the playoffs, it’s still possible for a player who is on a two-way contract through Thursday to play in the postseason.
A player on a two-way contract who has his contract turned into a standard NBA deal by his current team any time up until the last day of the regular season can play in the postseason for that team.
Clippers guard Tyrone Wallace is only on a two-way contract, but he has been a key contributor to the team’s recent success — L.A. is 8-4 in games Wallace has started.
If the Clips want to ensure they’ll have the rookie available in the event they earn a playoff spot, they can convert Wallace’s two-way deal into a standard NBA contract anytime between now and the end of the regular season — it doesn’t need to be done today. Assuming he remains on his two-way deal through today though, he wouldn’t be eligible to play in the postseason for any team besides the Clippers.
Of course, the Clippers would need to have room on their 15-man roster to convert Wallace’s contract, but right now that wouldn’t be a problem, since they’re carrying just 14 players on standard NBA deals.
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While these eligibility rules for two-way players shouldn’t create problems for most of the league’s 30 teams, there are at least a handful of clubs that will have decisions to make before season’s end. In order to make a player on a two-way contract available for the postseason, a team will have to convert that player to a standard NBA deal by April 11.
For more information on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our full glossary entry.