Nets 2021 second-round picks Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray are among the players on the training camp roster announced on Monday by the Long Island Nets – Brooklyn’s G League affiliate – for the 2021/22 G League season.
Zegarowski (this year’s No. 49 pick) and Gray (No. 59) were the only two 2021 draftees who hadn’t either signed an NBA contract or headed overseas for their rookie seasons, so our assumption had been that they would sign G League contracts and report to Long Island. The team’s announcement this week confirms that’s the case.
The “draft rights player” rule allows a G League club to add a player who was drafted by its parent NBA team, assuming that player signs an NBAGL contract. If a player takes that path, his NBA rights are retained by the team that drafted him, as if he were a draft-and-stash prospect.
In other words, Brooklyn could sign Zegarowski or Gray to a standard or two-way contract at some point down the road, but no other NBA team would be able to do so unless Brooklyn renounces their rights.
Taking the G League route has had mixed results for second-round picks in recent years. Isaiah Hartenstein earned an NBA contract with Houston in 2018 after playing for the Rockets’ G League affiliate as a rookie, and Kevin Hervey got a two-way deal with the Thunder in 2019 after spending a year in the NBAGL.
However, Jaron Blossomgame (Spurs), Justin Jackson (Magic), and Jaylen Hands (Nets) are among the recent draftees who never played an NBA game for the teams that drafted them after signing first-year G League contracts. While Blossomgame appeared in 27 games for Cleveland, Jackson and Hands still haven’t seen any action at the NBA level.
Chuma Okeke (Magic) and Vit Krejci (Thunder) got NBA contracts after signing G League deals as rookies, but both players were coming off major injuries and only started in the NBAGL for rehab purposes.