Rockets Signed, Waived Ronshad Shabazz

4:24pm: Agent Cam Brennick of RBA Sports confirms to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link) that Shabazz will enter the G League draft, since the Rockets won’t hold his affiliate rights.

While Houston can’t designate Shabazz as an affiliate player, it’s probably safe to assume the Rio Grande Valley Vipers will target him in the NBAGL draft.

3:30pm: The Rockets were one of many NBA teams that signed and immediately waived a player before the regular season, doing so with undrafted rookie guard Ronshad Shabazz, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

In his senior season in 2018/19, Shabazz averaged 18.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG with a shooting line of .496/.376/.815 in 32 games (32.2 MPG).

These sign-and-waive transactions are always G League-related. They’re designed to either make a player eligible to be designated as a G League “affiliate player” or to ensure that a returning-rights G League player receives an Exhibit 10 bonus.

However, the Rockets’ deal with Shabazz was a little different than every other sign-and-waive maneuver completed this fall. Rather than signing the former Appalachian State standout to an Exhibit 10 contract, Houston inked him a two-way contract before releasing him. The moves occurred on Monday, before the club officially converted Chris Clemons‘ contract to a two-way deal.

On the surface, it looks as if the Rockets were trying to secure Shabazz’s G League rights without adding any dead money to their cap. If Shabazz had signed an Exhibit 10 contract on Monday and been cut right away, he wouldn’t have cleared waivers until the second day of the regular season, meaning the tax-conscious Rockets would have been on the hook for about $10K in dead money ($18K for tax purposes) — two days’ worth of his salary.

According to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & Days, however, NBA teams don’t retain affiliate rights for waived two-way players. That would seem to make Shabazz ineligible to be designated as an affiliate player.

General manager Daryl Morey and the Rockets are pretty savvy with their roster moves, so it’s possible they’ve found a loophole here, or perhaps there’s another motivation for the signing. The official list of 2019 affiliate players should be released next week when G League training camps open, so we’ll see at that point whether or not Shabazz shows up on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ roster.

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