Duane Washington

Knicks Sign Duane Washington To Two-Way Deal

12:21pm: The Knicks have officially signed Washington to a two-way contract, the team announced today (press release via Twitter). As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Washington will be eligible to be active for up to 12 regular season games.

9:14am: The Knicks intend to fill one of the open slots on their 17-man roster by signing guard Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Washington, who played for the Pacers as a rookie after going undrafted out of Ohio State in 2021, signed a two-way contract with the Suns last August and spent the first half of the 2022/23 season with Phoenix before being waived at the start of February.

Washington had several strong outings for the Suns in his second NBA season, including four games of 21 points or more. In total, he averaged 7.9 PPG and 2.0 APG in 31 appearances (12.7 MPG) while making 36.0% of his three-point attempts. The team cut him in order to sign Saben Lee to a two-way deal.

The Knicks have been on a roll lately and don’t have any open spots in their rotation, so it’s unclear whether Washington will any real action at the NBA level once he signs with New York. He could end up spending much of his time with the Westchester Knicks as the G League season enters its home stretch.

Having promoted Trevor Keels from his two-way contract to a 10-day deal last week, the Knicks have an open two-way slot alongside DaQuan Jeffries. New York also still has the flexibility to continue making changes to its standard 15-man roster — after Keels’ 10-day contract expires this weekend, the team will be carrying just 13 players on standard deals.

Suns Notes: Booker, Payne, CP3, Lee, Washington

Suns guard Devin Booker is expected to return to action as soon as Tuesday against the Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Booker hasn’t played since Christmas Day due to a left groin strain, but was reevaluated on Wednesday and was said by the Suns to be “game-to-game” at that point.

Booker has already been ruled out for Friday’s game in Boston and it sounds like he won’t be back for Saturday’s contest in Detroit, but Wojnarowski suggests the standout guard could return to the court for the third game of Phoenix’s road trip, on Tuesday in Brooklyn. Booker said on Wednesday that he felt like he was “rounding third (base),” as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic tweets.

Unfortunately for the Suns, it will still be a little longer before they get another key backcourt piece back. As Rankin writes, the club announced on Friday that Cameron Payne (right foot sprain) continues to make progress in his recovery but will be out at least one more week before being reevaluated.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Suns have been linked to a handful of point guards in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, including Fred VanVleet and D’Angelo Russell, but that doesn’t mean they’re considering the idea of trading current starter Chris Paul, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe stated on his Lowe Post podcast. “Let me be clear, I don’t think they’re trading Chris Paul,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “I’ve heard nothing about trading Chris Paul. In fact, I’ve heard the opposite.”
  • Discussing the Suns’ decision to cut Duane Washington Jr. in order to bring back Saben Lee on a two-way contract after Lee’s second 10-day deal expired, head coach Monty Williams said that there will some “financial implications” in play, tweets Rankin. Phoenix has an open spot on its 15-man roster, but is well above the luxury tax line — two-way salaries don’t count against the cap or tax.
  • Gerald Bourguet of GoPHNX.com shares five of his takeaways from the Lee/Washington roster swap, exploring why the Suns were willing to let Washington go and considering whether the club’s decision to retain Lee is a reason to be concerned about Payne’s status.

Suns Sign Saben Lee To Two-Way Deal, Waive Duane Washington

5:58pm: Lee’s two-way deal and Washington’s release are now official, the Suns announced (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

2:47pm: After signing Saben Lee to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Suns are making a move to ensure that he sticks with the team. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Phoenix has agreed to sign Lee to a two-way contract and will waive current two-way player Duane Washington Jr. to open up a spot.

The 38th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Lee played for the Pistons during his first two years in the NBA, then spent time earlier this season on a two-way deal with Philadelphia before being cut in December. Over the course of his first 20 days in Phoenix, he averaged 7.0 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per night in 10 games (17.3 MPG), with a shooting line of .455/.500/.774.

After a player signs two 10-day contracts with the same team, he’s ineligible to sign a third, so if the Suns wanted to retain Lee, a rest-of-season commitment was necessary. Phoenix has an opening on its 15-man roster, but chose instead to use one of its two-way slots on Lee — he’s still eligible to be a two-way player since he’s only in his third NBA season.

It’s not surprising that the Suns would choose to avoid locking in a 15th man with the trade deadline just eight days away, since they’ll have more roster flexibility at the deadline this way. Still, waiving Washington to make room for Lee likely wasn’t an easy call.

Washington has had several strong outings for the Suns in his second NBA season, including four games of 21 points or more. In total, he averaged 7.9 PPG and 2.0 APG in 31 games (12.7 MPG) while making 36.0% of his three-point attempts. Assuming he clears waivers, he could certainly draw some interest from other NBA teams.

Forward Ish Wainright occupies Phoenix’s other two-way slot.

Five Candidates For Promotions From Two-Way Contracts

Players who signed two-way contracts before the NBA’s regular season got underway are eligible to be active for up to 50 of their teams’ 82 games, while players who filled two-way slots after the season began are eligible for even fewer games — the two-way games limit is prorated, so a player who signed halfway through the regular season could be active for up to 25 contests.

On top of that, players on two-way contracts aren’t eligible to play in the postseason, so once they reach their 50-game regular season limit, their seasons are essentially over at the NBA level.

However, there’s a way to get around those restrictions. If a two-way player has outperformed his contract and his team doesn’t want to lose his services once he’s active for his 50th game, that team can simply promote him to its standard 15-man roster.

Teams have the ability to unilaterally convert a two-way contract into a standard, rest-of-season deal worth the players’ minimum salary. If the player is open to it, he can also negotiate a multiyear contract with his team as part of his promotion to the 15-man roster.

Last season, 20 players were converted from two-way deals to standard contracts after the NBA regular season began. It hasn’t happened at all since opening night this season, but it’s just a matter of time until that changes.

Here are five prime candidates to receive promotions sooner or later:

Jordan Goodwin, G (Wizards)

Multiple reporters, including Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, and Ava Wallace of The Washington Post, have indicated that the Wizards would like to promote Goodwin. The second-year guard has been a solid rotation piece in D.C., averaging 6.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.7 APG with a .397 3PT%, but he’s rapidly approaching his 50-game limit.

According to Robbins (Twitter link), since he has already been active for 44 games, Goodwin is actually being assigned to the G League’s Capital City Go-Go on Saturday as the Wizards try to preserve his availability.

The Wizards don’t currently have an available 15-man roster spot, but it sounds like opening one up will be a priority at the trade deadline. Unfortunately for Goodwin, Washington has 10 games between now and February 9, so he may have to be inactive for some of them as the team attempts to make room for him.

Anthony Lamb, F (Warriors)

Unlike the Wizards, the Warriors do have a spot available on their 15-man roster for Lamb, but there’s no rush to promote him until he has exhausted his two-way games limit. Golden State may also want to keep that roster spot open through the trade deadline to maximize the team’s flexibility in trade talks and on the buyout market.

It should be just a matter of time until Lamb gets bumped to the main roster though. In 38 games for the defending champions, he has averaged 7.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 20.1 minutes per night, emerging as a trusted rotation player for head coach Steve Kerr, who has used Lamb more than a few reserves expected to have bigger roles.

Golden State’s other two-way player, Ty Jerome, is putting up a sparkling .503/.407/.963 shooting line this season through 28 appearances and is making his own case for a promotion.

Orlando Robinson, C (Heat)

Robinson, a rookie big man out of Fresno State, has surpassed Dewayne Dedmon in the Heat’s rotation in recent weeks as Bam Adebayo‘s primary backup at center. In his modest role, he has averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 15.1 MPG.

Because he signed his two-way deal with Miami in December, Robinson is limited to 35 active games, rather than 50, so his limit is fast approaching. But the Heat are right up against the luxury tax and won’t be able to sign a 15th man while staying below the tax line until March unless they shed a little salary in a trade deadline deal.

At this point, Robinson seems like the favorite to fill that 15th roster spot, but if the Heat’s cap situation remains unchanged, he’ll probably have to wait until later in the season.

Moses Brown, C (Clippers)

Given the Clippers’ lack of depth at center, Brown has often served as the de facto backup behind starter Ivica Zubac, appearing in 33 games so far.

The 23-year-old is only logging 7.9 minutes per night, but he’s making the most of his limited action, averaging 4.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG. L.A. has a +5.1 net rating when he’s on the court, the second-best mark on the team behind Kawhi Leonard.

Brown isn’t likely to be part of the Clippers’ playoff rotation, and may not see many minutes down the stretch at all if the club adds a veteran big man via trade or the buyout market. Still, there’s an open spot on the 15-man roster — if that spot remains open and Brown continues to play the role he has so far this season, he’s the logical candidate to fill it.

Duane Washington, G (Suns)

Washington didn’t see much action in Phoenix during the first month of the season, but with injuries taking a toll on the Suns’ roster, he has gotten the chance to play regular minutes in recent weeks.

While Washington’s performance has been up and down, the highs have been impressive. In three separate games within the last month, he has made at least five 3-pointers and scored at least 21 points. Since December 20, he’s knocking down 38.1% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

When the Suns are at full strength, it’s difficult to imagine Washington being part of the regular rotation, but the team only has 14 players on full-season contracts, so the door is open for him to claim the 15th spot. It may come down to what Phoenix does at the trade deadline and whether the team envisions a relationship with Saben Lee beyond his two 10-day contracts.

Suns Notes: Rowley, Ayton, Washington Jr., McDaniels

Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley has no intention of resigning despite an ESPN story last month that alleged Rowley was among the Suns executives who mistreated employees, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

Rowley told a group of team employees that the story, which placed him at the center of allegations of verbal abuse, retaliation and intimidation in the workplace, misrepresented him.

A statement released by the team on Tuesday and attributed to Rowley read: “I will say this in regards to the closed-door meeting. I confided in them that the story misrepresented me and others. Also, given that the team is going through a period of ownership transition, I communicated that while I do not know my ultimate fate with new ownership, I will never quit on this team and the people who make up this great organization.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Deandre Ayton missed Tuesday’s game against the Warriors after re-injuring his left ankle in Sunday’s loss against Cleveland, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Ayton had already missed four games with a left ankle sprain and will likely remain out for Wednesday’s game at Denver.
  • Two-way guard Duane Washington Jr. has been one of the key replacements for the Suns’ injury-ravaged unit, Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com notes. He scored 25 points against the Cavs but also committed some crucial turnovers. “With where we are, he’s doing a good job,” coach Monty Williams said. “There are times where he gets himself in a little bit of trouble deep in the paint. He had a couple of turnovers that he could have avoided, but I don’t want him playing fearful or worrying about making mistakes, even though you want him to have some balance.”
  • The Suns haven’t had discussions with the Hornets regarding forward Jalen McDaniels, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Phoenix had interest in McDaniels, but didn’t say the Suns had actually held trade talks with Charlotte about him.

Contract Details: Muscala, Harden, Blazers, More

The new contract that veteran forward/center Mike Muscala signed with the Thunder is essentially identical to the one he signed with the team in 2021, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Muscala’s new deal covers two years and has matching $3.5MM cap hits in each of those two seasons for a total of $7MM. The first year is guaranteed, while the second year is a team option. All of those details also applied to the two-year, $7MM contract he signed in ’21.

The Thunder chose to decline Muscala’s $3.5MM team option for 2022/23 back in June, but will now pay him that exact salary next season, with another $3.5MM team option for ’23/24. Since Oklahoma City had Muscala’s Bird rights, the club didn’t have to dip into its mid-level exception to complete the signing.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • James Harden‘s new two-year contract with the Sixers will pay him exactly $33MM in 2022/23 and includes a 2023/24 player option worth $35.64MM. The two-year, $68.64MM pact includes a 15% trade kicker.
  • The training camp contracts that Norvel Pelle and Isaiah Miller signed with the Trail Blazers include Exhibit 10 language. That gives Portland the option of converting either contract into a two-way deal before the regular season begins.
  • The new two-way contracts signed by Duane Washington (Suns) and Trent Forrest (Hawks) are each just for one season.

Eastern Notes: Haslem, Robinson, Wizards, Pistons, Pacers, Washington

The Heat have a standing offer out to veteran big man Udonis Haslem, which means it’s up to the 42-year-old if he wants to return next season, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel confirms in his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag.

Haslem has played fewer than 20 games in each of his past six seasons, but he plays an immense role in developing the team’s young players. He’s also served as a locker room leader, owning 19 years of NBA experience and winning three championships. He’s previously stated he has no interest in coaching.

Within the same article, Winderman also considered Duncan Robinson‘s status as a trade candidate, suggesting that Miami is unlikely to move Robinson for only a modest upgrade. With Robinson set to make $17MM this season, the Heat would likely need him for salary-matching purposes in order to acquire an impact player, so the club will be patient as it explores the trade market.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

Suns Sign Duane Washington To Two-Way Deal

AUGUST 3: The Suns have issued a press release officially announcing the signing of Washington.

AUGUST 2: Free agent guard Duane Washington Jr. has agreed to a two-way contract with the SunsESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Washington, 22, averaged 9.9 PPG and 1.8 APG in 20.2 MPG for the Pacers as a rookie last season while appearing in 48 games, including seven starts. Washington went undrafted out of Ohio State.

Phoenix has both of its two-way slots open, so the team will able to sign another two-way player in addition to Washington, who adds depth at the point behind Chris Paul and Cameron Payne.

Washington was waived last month as Indiana cleared cap space to give restricted free agent Deandre Ayton an offer sheet that Phoenix matched. Washington played most of last season on a two-way deal, then received a standard multiyear contract. However, his salary for next season was not guaranteed and he was waived just before it became guaranteed.

Pacers Waive Duane Washington, Three Others

7:18pm: The four cuts are now official, according to a press release from the Pacers.

3:15pm: The Pacers are waiving Duane Washington and using the waive-and-stretch provision on Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and Nik Stauskas in order to create the necessary cap space to sign Deandre Ayton to a maximum-salary offer sheet, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Washington, 22, went undrafted last year after three college seasons with Ohio State. He signed a two-way contract with the Pacers and had a productive rookie season, appearing in 48 games (20.2 MPG) while averaging 9.9 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.8 APG on .404/.377/.754 shooting. More than half of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.

Washington received a promotion at the end of the season when his two-way deal was converted to a standard contract, but his salary for next season was non-guaranteed. He and the team previously agreed to push back his guarantee date from July 6 until July 15, so he’ll be released one day in advance of that deadline.

Fitts, Morgan and Stauskas were all sent to Indiana for salary-matching purposes as part of the trade that saw Malcolm Brogdon head to Boston. Each of the three players received significant guarantees on their minimum-salary contracts in order to complete the trade, but obviously none of them were part of Indiana’s long-term plans.

The stretch provision allows teams to pay players they waive over multiple years. In this case, the three salaries will be spread out over three seasons, because they were all waived between July 1 and August 31 and only had one year on their contracts.

Of the four players being waived, Washington seems like the best bet to immediately find a new team, whether it’s via waiver claim or a new deal after clearing waivers. Despite being a rookie, he had the most productive season in 2021/22, even if it was due in part to Indiana’s disappointing season that saw the team finish with a 25-57 record.

Pacers, Duane Washington Push Back Salary Guarantee Date

5:07pm: Agness has now corrected his initial report, tweeting that the Pacers and Washington agreed to push back the guard’s salary guarantee date to July 15.

4:47pm: The 2022/23 contract for Pacers guard Duane Washington became fully guaranteed today as he remained on the roster past the guarantee date, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Washington, who will make $1.56MM next season, also has a non-guaranteed $1.84MM contract for 2023/24. The guarantee date for that season is June 30, 2023.

The 22-year-old signed a two-way deal with Indiana last summer after going undrafted out of Ohio State. He was upgraded to a standard contract in early April, shortly before the end of the regular season.

Washington appeared in 48 games as a rookie, making seven starts, and averaged 9.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20.2 minutes per night.