As of July 18, there were 12 two-way restricted free agents who had yet to sign new contracts.
Over the past three-plus weeks, six of those players — Lester Quinones (Warriors), Kendall Brown (Pacers), Trevor Keels (Knicks), Duane Washington (Knicks), Dominick Barlow (Spurs) and Ron Harper Jr. (Raptors) — returned to their clubs on two-way deals.
Keels and Washington were subsequently waived to create roster space for Nathan Knight and Dylan Windler, respectively. Washington re-signed with New York on a training camp contract, while Keels is an NBA free agent (the Knicks retained his G League rights).
A seventh player — Jeff Dowtin — returned to Toronto on a one-year, minimum-salary contract that is fully non-guaranteed. He would receive $900K if he’s not waived on or before October 21, but may face an uphill battle to claim a roster spot, as the Raptors now have 15 players with guaranteed deals on their roster.
That leaves a total of five two-way restricted free agents available, as our up-to-date list shows. Those players are as follows:
- Trent Forrest, G, Hawks
- Theo Maledon, G, Hornets
- Jamal Cain, F, Heat
- Matt Ryan, F, Timberwolves
- Terry Taylor, F, Bulls
Of the five-player group, Maledon had the largest role last season. The 34th pick of the 2020 draft appeared in 44 games for Charlotte in 2022/23, averaging 6.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game.
If they’re willing to accept their one-year, two-way qualifying offers, four of these five players seemingly have an easy path back to the teams that hold their rights — the Hawks, Hornets, Heat and Wolves all have an open two-way slot available.
That is not true for the Bulls, however — all three of their two-way slots are filled. If Taylor accepts his QO, Chicago might just release him, similar to what happened with Washington and Keels.
Some two-way RFAs have managed to earn standard contracts this offseason. Cain has reportedly been discussing that possibility with rival teams, but Miami has been reluctant to give him a standard deal.
It will be interesting to see if any of the five players are able to land a standard contract instead of another two-way deal. However, being RFAs hurts their leverage to negotiate with rival teams, and offer sheets for two-way restricted free agents essentially never happen.