For an event with the same ethos and same location as a year ago, the 2018 G League Showcase sure felt a little different last week. It wasn’t just the addition of the second court at Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, or the buzz from Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors visits just down the highway, either.
The biggest change, here and in the G League as a whole this season, is the introduction of two-way contracts.
Those deals are a net positive for players and the league. They create up to 60 more roster spots where players on the fringes of the NBA can earn two-tiered salaries that pay them a more competitive wage relative to overseas opportunities while also developing within an NBA organization, spending up to 45 days with a parent club during the G League season, with the possibility of having that deal converted to a standard NBA contract. They have unquestionably improved the quality of play in the G League, as while not all of those two-way players would have opted to go overseas – there is a not insignificant portion who would have opted to bet on themselves earning a call-up – the top tier of G League talent is noticeably deeper.
There have been externalities. The obvious one at an event like this is that with scouts and executives from every team on hand, attention normally reserved for G Leaguers looking for a call-up is shared with players on two-way deals. The deadline to sign two-way players was Monday, and so teams were up against a bit of a deadline on that front that doesn’t quite exist with standard call-ups. Conversations at the event focused far more on the roster churn of two-way players far more than potential 10-day targets.
That resulted in a pretty chaotic couple of days on the transaction wire.