The Heat have yet to utilize either of their two-way contracts slots, making them one of three rosters not to feature this type of deal (Raptors, Rockets). Jeremiah Martin, Chris Silva, and Kyle Alexander are each under Exhibit 10 contracts, and it’s plausible that the team will end up converting up to two of the three into two-way deals at some point before the season.
Two-way contracts, which allow players to split time between the NBA and the G League, were implemented during the 2017 season and there has been numerous instances where the players under these deals make an impact for their NBA squad. Quinn Cook (Warriors), Tyrone Wallace (Clippers), and Danuel House (Rockets) are among the players who have contributed to their respective team’s success.
Martin, Silva, and Alexander each suited up for the Miami’s summer league team in Las Vegas and each had impressive stints for the squad, which is why the franchise plans on bringing the trio to camp. Each will likely play for the team’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, should they not receive a two-way deal.
Examine Miami’s roster and its easy to find a need for additional depth. James Johnson, Dion Waiters, and Goran Dragic are among the players to miss extensive time with injuries last season. Kelly Olynyk is already nursing a knee injury that forced him to pull out of the World Cup and while the team brought back Udonis Haslem to man the 15th roster spot, the power forward hasn’t played more than 130 total minutes in a season since the Obama administration was in office.
Hitting on two-way players is critical for this team, as it will help mitigate the risk of sliding down the standings in the event of injuries and back-end of the roster ineffectiveness. The franchise only needs to look back at last season to such occurrences.
Miami’s salary cap situation makes its two-way contract slots even more crucial. The franchise sits less than $1MM below the apron, which represents a hard cap at as a result of the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. While many teams will have the ability to tinker with the back end of the rotation and replace players with guaranteed contracts who don’t fit. Miami has no such luxury; the organization had no margin for error here.
The Heat could ostensibly make moves, such as releasing Kendrick Nunn, whose contract is non-guaranteed, in order to make another addition to the official roster. It could also waive any guaranteed contract it wants without making an addition. However, those, like many of the paths for Miami to add talent, appears unlikely.
Two-way contracts do not count against the salary cap, though they allow players under these deal to spend up to 45 days in the NBA. Whether it’s a pair from the Silva/Martin/Alexander trio or other players who end up with those deals, Miami may need production from these spots even if it’s only a total of 90 days of NBA service.