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Rich Paul declares Bronny James won’t sign two-way contract

Bronny James Contract
Bronny James is projected to be a second-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)

Rich Paul declares Bronny James won’t sign two-way contract

Depending on who you ask, there are plenty of different opinions on Bronny James, the son of legend LeBron James, ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft, which begins on June 26. Though many project him to be a mid-to-late second-round pick.

One thing is clear: Regardless of whether he’s a second-round selection or an undrafted player, he will not be signing a two-way contract, according to his agent Rich Paul.

“Yes, that’s absolutely true,” Paul said when asked by Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes regarding whether it’s true that James wouldn’t sign a two-way deal. “Teams know that. I’m not doing that.”

First-round picks are rewarded four-year rookie scale contracts, with the first two years guaranteed with team options for the third and fourth seasons.

That’s not necessarily the case with second-round picks.

Under the new CBA, teams now have the option to sign players using second-round pick exceptions or two-way contracts–where there are stark differences–instead of using cap room or other exceptions to sign such players.

Two-way contracts essentially allow teams to carry up to three extra players on their rosters that won’t count against the cap; assuming the team is carrying a full 15-man roster, players on two-ways can be active for a max of 50 games without playoff eligibility, where they’ll make half of the rookie minimum, which was roughly $560K this season.

Two-way contracts are also one-year contracts. However, players on second-round exceptions–a new contract introduced by the new CBA–can sign either three- or four-year deals with the final year being a team option.

In 2023-24, second-round pick exceptions for three years were worth a max of $6.0 million while four-year exceptions were worth $8.8 million. Among players who signed using the second-round exception last year are Sacramento’s Colby Jones, Milwaukee’s Andre Jackson Jr., Golden State’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, Minnesota’s Leonard Miller and Portland’s Toumani Camara.

It’s far more beneficial to the player to sign that contract if it’s available to them and not eat at their MLE or cap space. So it’s understandable why Paul wouldn’t want James to sign a two-way contract.

But that’s also a choice a team has to make. Do you risk having a player on a non-two-way contract–when you can assume he will spend most of the time in the G-League developing and getting reps–or not, regardless of whether you select him in the second round or sign him as an undrafted free agent?

It offers another piece of the puzzle that teams must solve for Bronny James ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft.

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