NBA Two Way Contract-A Comprehensive Guide to The NBA Rule

NBA Two Way Contract

NBA two way contract was introduced by NBA in 2017. The purpose of this rule was to retain the undrafted basketball players on the roaster of NBA teams as 16th and 17th players.

This rule is growing popular over time, and the number of basketball players as two-way players is also increasing.

In this article, we’ll try to unwrap all the details of this contract including its rules, eligibility criteria, and its pros and cons. 

NBA Two Way Contract – The Explanation

It’s a type of guaranteed deal that an undrafted player makes with an NBA team for a limited time. By doing so they can play with that team’s G-League affiliate. In addition, they also get an opportunity to play limited games with that NBA team also.  

Each NBA team can select only two two-way players per season. These players are considered the 16th and 17th players on the roster of that team. 


The story of the NBA two way contract started when, in spite of the competence, many players were left undrafted. Or the other way, the team likes the player but in their opinion, the player isn’t completely ready to play for the NBA. 

So in order to retain that player, instead of signing a full-time contract, they sign this NBA two-way contract. Initially, the two-way players were allowed to play only 45 days per season with their NBA team without participating in the playoffs and the rest of the time in the G-league. 

Later, in the Covid pandemic, NBA increased their playing time to 50 games on the NBA team roster. Further, the league allows them to do practices with the team and enjoy sitting on the benches as an inactive member during the games.

Two Way Contract Players Salary

By signing this contract, the player gets an opportunity to play in two leagues i-e NBA and its G-League.

For instance, if a player signs NBA two way contract with Boston Celtics(NBA team) then he can also play in its G-league, Maine Celtics.

This player can make a handsome living, even if he only plays for the team’s G-league, Maine Celtics. However, if he plays in Boston Celtics(an NBA team), then he gets an additional minimum flat salary of $449,155, equal to half of the league’s minimum salary.

Previously, two-way players were paid as per the number of games they were playing in the NBA. In the Covid pandemic, likewise their playing time, the salary of the players was also revised.

Now two way contract players get a fixed salary for playing in NBA, no matter how many games they play. In addition, they get a salary from G-League as well.

Eligibility Criteria for Two-way Contract

Not every player is eligible for this contract. The eligibility criteria for signing NBA two-way contract include:

  • Only undrafted players can sign this contract to an NBA team.
  • Postseason rosters are ineligible for this contract.
  • The players must have equal to or less than three years of playing experience in the NBA.
  • The teams sign this contract either for two seasons or only for the coming season. The contract lasts for two years and with the same team.
  • The players can only play 50 games with the NBA team in these two seasons and for the rest, they have to play in the G-league.
  • After ending the contract, NBA may offer a full-time contract. On the other hand, the NBA can even cancel the contract at any time.

NBA Two Way Contract Worth

For the teams, NBA two way contract is a win-win as they can retain the players and evaluate them for their progress without investing much. In case, the players are not performing well, they can simply wave off them after ending up the contract.

For the two-way players, it may have some pros and cons. Let’s discuss some of them.


  • It is the lifelong goal of many players to play in the NBA team. By signing this contract, they get a chance to achieve their goal.
  • The other pros is the hefty salary. The players can earn a handsome living by playing in NBA and its affiliate.


  • Where the salary may be a highlighted figure for many of the players, some players avoid doing such contracts for fear of losing their freedom.
  • Although the NBA two way contract yields a substantial salary, with three years of NBA experience, such players may earn much more than this by joining overseas leagues like Euroleagues.

NBA Two Way Contract Tracker

This involves the list of basketball players that signed this contract in 2022-23. This list shows the names of the players, who signed the contract and the name of the NBA team and its affiliate G-League.


To sum up, the purpose of an NBA two way contract is to retain those competent basketball players on the roster of the NBA team that left undrafted.

Such players get training in the G-Leagues unless they get completely ready to play as full-time NBA team players.

Alternatively, the choice of signing a two-way contract also depends upon the personal preferences of the players. Some basketball players play happily in the G-Leagues, and they don’t want to be NBA players.

While for others, who want to pursue their dream to be part of an NBA team this contract could be an olive branch to fulfill their dream.