The reasoning behind the long list of prospects brought in for pre-draft workouts by the Trail Blazers may be connected, in some form, to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s addition of two-way contracts, which adds two roster spots to every team starting in the 2017-18 season.
Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders recently examined how NBA teams and prospects are going to navigate the CBA’s newest wrinkle, regarding roster construction.
Every June, 60 prospects are snatched up in the NBA Draft — few are transcendent, some are budding stars and most are just looking to find their way in the sport’s most competitive league. For the rest of pack, those that go undrafted are left with less than conventional methods to reach their ultimate goal. Avenues like Summer League and the soon-to-be-rebranded G-League are often the only way to gain admittance into the NBA, aside from taking a more lucrative deal overseas in hopes of proving their worth on another continent.
However, an addition to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has introduced another path to join the NBA ranks, and it’s already changed the dynamic of many pre-draft workouts. Two-way contracts will allow a team to essentially carry two more roster spots that won’t count against the salary cap. These players, who must have less than four years of NBA experience, can be swapped between the professional level and the G-League for up to 45 days in a season.
The Blazers own three first-round selections in the upcoming NBA Draft, but that hasn’t prevented President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey from bringing in players that project to go much later in the selection process. Tyler Dorsey, Melo Trimble, PJ Dozier, Justin Robinson, John Gillon, and Kobi Simmons are all examples of players who are projected to go in the latter stages of the second round or undrafted, and all of them have visited Portland for pre-draft evaluations.
The Blazers will announce their Summer League roster shortly after the draft, which should provide some clarity on how Portland intends to use its new roster spots.