SEPTEMBER 5: After converting Ponds and McDowell-White to two-way contracts, the Rockets have converted them back to standard deals, according to RealGM’s official transactions log and ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The two players appear to be back on essentially the same contracts they were before, but with one key difference, as Marks explains: The initial Exhibit 10 deals for Ponds and McDowell-White didn’t feature Exhibit 9 language, which limits a team’s liability if a player is injured in training camp or the preseason. Teams must have at least 14 players under contract to add Exhibit 9 language to an agreement, which the Rockets didn’t when they signed the duo in early July.
Without the Exhibit 9 clause, the Rockets would have had to pay either player’s salary if he suffered an injury in the preseason, up until he got healthy. As such, a season-ending injury would have forced Houston to pay the player’s entire salary, which would have compromised the team’s ability to limit its tax bill (or avoid the tax altogether). With Exhibit 9 language in place, Houston will now only be on the hook for $6K in the event of an injury.
The upshot is that Ponds and McDowell-White are back on non-guaranteed salaries and Houston’s two-way slots are once again open.
SEPTEMBER 4: The Rockets have converted the Exhibit 10 contracts for rookies Shamorie Ponds and William McDowell-White into two-way deals, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Previously, Houston had been one of just three NBA teams without a two-way player under contract.
Ponds and McDowell-White were two of the first players signed in July, as the Rockets locked them up to contracts even before the July moratorium ended. Both players suited up for Houston’s Las Vegas Summer League roster.
Ponds, a 6’1″ guard out of St. John’s, averaged 19.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.1 RPG, and an impressive 2.6 SPG in 33 games during his junior year in 2018/19 before declaring for the draft as an early entrant.
McDowell-White spent the last several years playing for teams in Australia and Germany. Having started his career with the Sydney Kings in 2016, the 6’5″ Australian combo guard spent a season and a half with German club Brose Bamberg, leaving the team earlier this year to prepare for the 2019 draft.
As we explained on Tuesday, converting an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way deal is one of a handful of options that teams have for a player on an E10 pact. I noted within that story that I expected the Rockets to have a few players compete in camp for their two-way slots, but it appears the team has made its two-way decisions well in advance of the preseason.