After being selected with the 59th pick in the NBA Draft, George King has signed a two-way contract with Phoenix Suns. This deal will have the former Buffaloes star in the NBA, at least for part of the 2018-19 season.
Two-way contracts were introduced to the NBA last summer. They were designed to give teams more flexibility with their roster and create 60 more roster spots for fringe NBA players. Each team has two of these contracts and they use them as 16th and 17th roster spots. Players on these contracts split time between the NBA and the G League, but no player can exceed 45 total days on an NBA roster.
If and when King is with the Phoenix Suns, he will be paid the NBA rookie minimum, which is roughly $830,000. With the Northern Arizona Suns in the G League, King will have a base salary of $75,000, which is lavish compared to the G League minimum of $26,000. (It’s awful that the NBA and MLB have so much money, but they barely pay their minor leaguers a livable wage.)
If any two-way player like King exceeds the 45 days they are allowed to spend on an NBA roster, the team has the right to sign them to a rest-of-season contract. That means that if King impresses in his time with Phoenix, he can earn a guaranteed contract in the NBA. Last season, multiple two-way players were signed on for the rest of the season, most notably Torrey Craig with the Denver Nuggets.
It’s encouraging to see King earn the two-way contract. It was always going to be a struggle for him to crack the Suns’ roster, especially since they drafted Mikal Bridges and signed Trevor Ariza, but this ensures King will at least get a shot in the NBA. As we have learned over the years, all King needs is an inch of space to make his shot count.