In the wake of 13 games being postponed as of Saturday due to an increasing number of players made unavailable by health and safety protocols, the NBA reportedly may allow teams to add a third two-way player for the rest of the 2020-21 regular season.
Currently, each team can employ two two-way players. Expanding rosters from 17 to 18 players with a third two-way spot would give teams more leeway in terms of being able to have a minimum of eight active players in order to play a game and could prevent some contests from being postponed as the season goes on.
“I think it makes sense,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose team had their game in Phoenix on Friday postponed because of ongoing contract tracing within the Suns organization. “A lot of teams have been short-handed due to the pandemic.”
Rosters were expanded with two-way contracts in 2017. Until this season, players on two-way contracts could spend up to 45 days, including games and practices, with their NBA team and the rest of their season with their G League affiliate. Anticipating difficulties caused by the pandemic and because the G League’s own uncertain status, the NBA bumped their games allowed to 50 during this 72-game season, and lifted limits on practice days for this season.
Though Kerr would appreciate the additional player, he’d also prefer for the 50-game restriction to be removed completely, citing the preference to play rookie point guard Nico Mannion and second-year forward Juan Toscano-Anderson.
Instead, Toscano-Anderson has played in six of Golden State’s 12 games and Mannion, the 48th pick in November’s draft, has played only once as the Warriors try to get to 22 inactive games as quickly as possible.
“I could have used Nico and Juan several times this year,” Kerr said. “I’ve been trying to knock a lot of those games out early to save them for a rainy day when we have injuries. But if the league allowed us to expand that number, then we’d be able to use them more.”
Toscano-Anderson has proven to be a reliable rotation piece who can fill minutes at both forward positions and plays well with Stephen Curry. Mannion, meanwhile, has impressed in practice and could provide another ball-handler Kerr could use to help Curry play more off the ball.
That would help the Warriors, but it wouldn’t address the NBA’s concern of the number of postponed games getting out of hand.
“We’ll see what the league decides,” Kerr said. “I know they have everybody’s best interests at heart and they’ll come up with the best solution.”
Contributed by local news sources