The Trail Blazers currently have 15 players under contract, but they still have room to add players via two-way contracts. Portland utilized the newly formed roster spots last season to sign Wade Baldwin IV and CJ Wilcox. Baldwin is now on a guaranteed NBA contract—proving that the Blazers are capable of un-earthing players in non-traditional ways.
With training camp approaching, Portland could use a camp invite as a potential audition for a player eligible for a two-way contract. Whether it is targeting a player that could develop into a trade piece, or a big man that could provide depth in the frontcourt—the Blazers could go in several different directions when searching for players to fill the final two open spots on the roster.
Before we go any further, let’s brush up on the details of a two-way contract.
- Each team can have up to two players on two-way contracts at a time.
- Time in the NBA isn’t guaranteed for a player on a two-way deal, but they can spend up to 45 days with the team that signs them.
- A players on a two-way deal will be compensated for their time in the NBA with a salary consistent with a minimum rookie deal.
- Portland doesn’t have a G-League affiliate, so players would be distributed via the league’s allocation process.
- Players with four years or fewer of NBA service are eligible to sign a two-way contract.
With those qualifiers in mind, here are a few players that might pique the Blazers’ interest.
Chinanu Onuaku | C | Age: 21
Onuaku was selected in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Rockets. With only six NBA appearances (one start) under his belt, the lumbering center is still eligible to sign a two-way contract. Onuaku was traded to Dallas by Houston earlier this month, and he was promptly released by the Mavericks.
The former Louisville standout might be limited on the offensive end, but he has shown potential as a defender. Onuaku’s 83-game G-League resume is solid. He averaged 12.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in his two-year career with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Onuaku would also provide the added bonus of giving fans a chance to root for under-handed free throws. Close your eyes, and imagine a packed Moda Center rooting for the Blazers to surpass the 100-point mark with Onuaku at the line.
Kobi Simmons | PG | Age: 21
Discarded Grizzlies point guard? Check. Lengthy and athletic? Check.
Could the Portland find another serviceable guard by nabbing a Memphis castoff for the second year in a row? Simmons would provide the Blazers with an opportunity to do just that. The former Arizona guard played in 32 games (12 starts) for the injury-depleted Grizzlies before being cut earlier this week.
Simmons will need to develop the finer points of his game, but his athleticism would give Portland’s coaching staff plenty to work with.
Marshall Plumlee | C | Age: 26
Plumlee bounced between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Wisconsin Herd (G-League) last year. Mason’s younger brother isn’t the flashiest player, but he would provide the Blazers with break-in-case-of-emergency big man.
Plumlee is a true seven-footer with a sturdy frame. Even if he doesn’t see much action on the court, his presence in practice could pay dividends for the Blazers’ developing post players.
Come on, who doesn’t want another Plumlee in Portland?
Who are some eligible players that you would like to see Portland sign before training camp? Tell us in the comments below.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com