Leaky Black

Several Two-Way Players Nearing Active Game Limit

A player who signs a two-way contract with an NBA team is permitted to be active for up to 50 regular season games. That limit is prorated if the player signed his two-way deal after the regular season got underway — for instance, a player who finalized a two-way contract halfway through the season would be permitted to be active for up to 25 contests at the NBA level.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Two-Way Contract]

Several two-way players have been promoted to standard contracts recently, eliminating those games-played limits. GG Jackson (Grizzlies), Keon Ellis (Kings), Lindy Waters III (Thunder), Craig Porter Jr. (Cavaliers), Duop Reath (Trail Blazers), and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Pelicans) have all signed new deals since the trade deadline.

However, there are still a number of players on two-way contracts around the league who are at or near their active-game limit for the season. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) identifies Celtics big man Neemias Queta, Mavericks guard Brandon Williams, Grizzlies guard Jacob Gilyard, and Hornets teammates Leaky Black and Nathan Mensah as two-way players who have 10 or fewer active games left, while Hawks guard Trent Forrest has already reached his 50-game limit.

In some cases, promotions to the standard roster may be forthcoming. Queta, for instance, has been a semi-regular contributor off the bench for the Celtics, who have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so if Boston wants to make him playoff-eligible and ensure he’s able to be active for the rest of the regular season, a contract conversion would be pretty straightforward.

Other cases could be trickier. While the Hawks would presumably like to have Forrest available for the rest of the season, they have a full 15-man roster, so they’d have to waive someone to make room to promote him.

Atlanta at least has some viable release candidates on its roster — for instance, veterans Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews haven’t played much and aren’t owed guaranteed money beyond this season. But that’s not the case in Memphis, where Gilyard has made a strong case for a promotion from his two-way deal by averaging 4.7 points and 3.5 assists in 37 games (17.7 MPG), with a .425 3PT%.

The Grizzlies have already promoted Jackson and Vince Williams from two-way contracts and may not have any expendable players left on their 15-man roster who could be cut to make room for Gilyard. Luke Kennard ($14.8MM team option for 2024/25) and Lamar Stevens (unrestricted free agent this summer) are the only Grizzlies not owed any guaranteed money after this season, and both are playing rotation roles for the banged-up club.

“We’ll see what happens when the time comes,” Gilyard said of his uncertain situation, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “As a basketball player, it’s definitely on your mind. I try not to let it affect me. I think that’s probably the worst part about being a point guard is you start to understand things and start to grasp things like that.”

“It’s kind of a juggling act,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said of working within those active-game limits for his two-way players, including Gilyard and Scotty Pippen Jr. “It’s hard to make those decisions, trying to preserve those dates. (Pippen’s) understood it. I was very upfront with him when he came in, (general manager) Zach (Kleiman) and myself. I think when he came in, we were maybe on the 40-game mark, but he didn’t have 40 games available, so it’s very unfortunate.

“Maybe it’s something that we look into as a league because I think he’s earned the opportunity to play every single night. We just have to balance the games he actually has available to him.”

Besides those players who are approaching their games-played limits, there are a few others on two-way contracts around the league who look like candidates to be promoted to standard rosters before the end of the regular season. Nets forward Jalen Wilson and Warriors guard Lester Quinones are among those who were playing regularly for their respective clubs leading up to the All-Star break.

Promoting a player to a standard contract would open up a two-way slot for his team, allowing that club to reset its active-game counter for that slot — at least to some extent. Due to the prorated nature of those game limits, a player who signs a two-way contract today could only be active for up to 16 games the rest of the way, but that’s 16 more games than, say, Forrest is eligible to play for the Hawks as long as he remains on his current two-way deal.

Teams have until March 4 to sign players to two-way contracts, so I expect to see a good deal of roster activity related to two-way slots within the next couple weeks.

Contract Details: Noel, Dowtin, White, Jordan, Matthews, More

The one-year, minimum-salary contract that Nerlens Noel signed with the Kings is currently only partially guaranteed for $300K, Hoops Rumors has learned. Noel would see his partial guarantee increase to $600K if he hasn’t been waived by the first game of the regular season this fall. In order to receive his full salary, he’d need to remain under contract through at least January 7.

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

  • Jeff Dowtin‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Raptors is fully non-guaranteed for the time being. However, the guard would receive a partial guarantee worth $900K if he’s not waived on or before October 21, reports Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder signed Jack White to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that includes a $600K partial guarantee in year one and a team option for 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deals signed by DeAndre Jordan (Nuggets) and Wesley Matthews (Hawks) are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The two-way contracts signed by Omari Moore (Bucks) and Leaky Black (Hornets) cover two years rather than just one, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • Sixers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson waived their right to veto trades during their 2023/24 season, Hoops Rumors has learned. As we detailed earlier today, players who re-sign with their previous teams on one-year deals (or two-year deals with a second-year option) get trade veto rights by default, but can choose to give up those rights.

Hornets Sign Leaky Black To Two-Way Deal

JULY 19: Black’s two-way deal with the Hornets is now official, the team announced.


JUNE 23: The Hornets will use one of their two-way slots in 2023/24 on rookie free agent Leaky Black, reports Adam Smith of Inside Carolina. The two sides have agreed to a two-way deal.

A 6’8″ swingman, Black went undrafted out of North Carolina on Thursday. He spent five seasons with the Tar Heels, averaging 7.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG on .411/.326/.702 shooting in 33 games (32.1 MPG) during his super-senior year in 2022/23.

While Black’s offensive contributions are modest, he’s considered an asset on the other end of the floor, having made the ACC’s All-Defensive team in both 2022 and 2023.

Prior to attending UNC, Black was born and raised in Concord, North Carolina, so it’s a local signing for the Hornets.

Xavier Sneed, one of the players who finished the 2022/23 season on a two-way contract with the Hornets, has a deal that covers ’23/24 as well. Assuming Charlotte hangs onto him, the team will be able to carry one more two-way player in addition to Sneed and Black.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hornets, Butler

The Wizards have been taking a thorough look at a wealth of NBA prospects in recent days. Washington possesses three picks in this year’s draft: the eighth selection in the lottery and the Nos. 42 and 57 picks in the second round.

The team announced (Twitter link) that it was auditioning six prospects in a pre-draft workout on Friday: Texas forward Timmy Allen, North Carolina forward Leaky Black, San Diego State forward Nathan Mensah, Connecticut forward Adama Sanogo, Ohio State forward Justice Sueing, and Indiana forward Race Thompson.

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (via Twitter) another five league hopefuls participated in a a pre-draft workout Saturday. Virginia guard Kihei Clark, Missouri guard D’Moi Hodge, North Carolina State guard Jarkel Joiner, University of North Carolina at Greensboro swingman Keondre Kennedy, and Princeton forward Tosan Evbuomwan comprised that group.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets possess a whopping five selections in this year’s draft, headlined by the second pick in the lottery. Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) builds out the club’s ideal draft, suggesting Charlotte should select Alabama swingman Brandon Miller over G League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson with the No. 2 pick. The club also has the No. 27 pick in the first round at its disposal, as well as three second-round selections. Givony suggests those picks would be best used on Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski, UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Missouri’s Kobe Brown.
  • The Hornets brought in six NBA hopefuls for their latest pre-draft workout Saturday. Per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), G League Ignite wing Sidy Cissoko, Detroit Mercy combo guard Antoine Davis, guard Jazian Gortman of Overtime Elite, Oklahoma big man Tanner Groves, Jackson-Davis, and Jaquez participated in the audition.
  • Even if Jimmy Butler‘s Heat fall short of a championship, his legendary playoff run deserves to be remembered forever, opines John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger notes that Butler’s regular season accolades pale in comparison to his postseason impact, especially when it comes to clutch scoring and play-making.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Sheppard, Wizards, Hornets, Magic, Warriors

With Scoot Henderson ranked second or third in nearly every mock draft, the G League Ignite star only plans two workouts during the pre-draft process, tweets Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report.

Henderson was in Portland on Saturday to show off the skills that have made him one of the most talked-about prospects in this year’s class. The Trail Blazers hold the third pick and appear to be the most likely destination for Henderson if speculation about Brandon Miller going to Charlotte at No. 2 is correct. There’s been plenty of conjecture that Portland may trade the pick for veteran help, but some sources believe the team would be comfortable adding another young player.

Henderson hasn’t scheduled a session with the Hornets yet, but he told Casey Holdahl of NBA.com that he expects to work out for them at some point before the June 22 draft. He also talked about what he’ll bring to the team that selects him.

“You always want a guy like me, that dog mentality,” Henderson said. “Just my personality, the culture I bring to the locker room. I’m a great leader, I’ll tell what’s up and I can do everything on the floor. I can do everything on the floor. I’m going to go out there and give my 110 percent every day. And that’s the thing about me: I’m very consistent in effort. Even if it’s not there, I just try to even it out the next game, try to get right to it. Give it a 120 if I didn’t give it 110 the last game.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Draft Notes: Pacers, Hawks, Kalkbrenner, Harrison, Bates

Ricky Council IV (Arkansas), Nikola Djurisic (Serbia), Tevian Jones (Southern Utah), Darius McGhee (Liberty), Jordan Miller (Miami) and Keisei Tominaga (Nebraska) will work out for the Pacers on Tuesday, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Council, ranked No. 56 on ESPN’s Best Available list, and Djurisic (No. 59) are the highest-rated players visiting Indianapolis.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe (No. 75) headlines the group of six prospects that the Hawks will evaluate on Tuesday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Overtime Elite’s Jazian Gortman, North Carolina’s Leaky Black, UAB’s Trey Jemison, TCU’s Emanuel Miller and Texas’ Sir’Jabari Rice will join him.
  • Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner is withdrawing from the draft and returning to school, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein tweets. Kalkbrenner was considered a second-round prospect, ranking No. 62 on ESPN’s list.
  • Grand Canyon’s Rayshon Harrison is also returning to school, Rothstein adds in another tweet.
  • Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates interviewed well at the combine, which boosted his stock and made a lot of teams take a closer look at him, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Bates is considered a second-round prospect (No. 57).

50 Prospects Reportedly Invited To G League Elite Camp

A total of 50 prospects for the 2023 NBA draft have been invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of Forbes and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links).

Those players are as follows:

The name of the G League Elite Camp is a bit of a misnomer — when first introduced, the event showcased NBAGL players, but the field of participants now consists exclusively of draft prospects. The event will take place on May 13 and 14 in Chicago, ahead of this year’s draft combine.

Like the combine, the Elite Camp brings young players to Chicago to meet NBA teams and participate in drills and scrimmages. While the combine focuses on the top prospects in a given draft class, the Elite Camp generally features prospects who are trying to break into that upper echelon of prospects but are more likely to go undrafted. The top performers at the event typically receive invites to the combine.

Of the 50 G League Elite Camp invitees, 15 show up on Jonathan Givony’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects at ESPN.com. However, no Elite Camp invitee ranks higher than No. 58 (Hart) on ESPN’s board.

The G League Elite Camp will give the invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 31. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.