Why the third two-way deal is important for the OKC Thunder

Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

The NBA and the NBA Players Association have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to keep labor peace and avoid a lockout for the next seven years. This new CBA will begin at the turn of the NBA calendar year, July 1st. Historically, the CBA has not been kind to the OKC Thunder.

The new CBA includes many details on money mechanics, a mid-season play-in tournament, and games played requirements for end-of-season awards. However, the most under-the-radar change might impact the Oklahoma City Thunder most.

The NBA adding a third two-way slot is vital for the OKC Thunder in both the short and long term.

The NBA is adding a third two-way contract slot, up from the current allotment of two. As a refresher, a two-way contract does not count against the 15-player roster of standard NBA deals but allows said player to play in NBA games and NBA G-League games.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have used the two-way pact arguably better than any other team in the league. This is thanks to their investment into their NBA G-League organization, the OKC Blue, and Sam Presti’s eye for talent.

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In recent years, the Thunder have used the two-way pact on the likes of Lu Dort, Aaron Wiggins, Eugene Omoruyi, and Lindy Waters. All of them have been converted to the standard Thunder roster at one point, and all but Omoruyi remain that way. Currently, the two-way slots are occupied by Jared Butler and Olivier Sarr.

How does this additional option help the OKC Thunder? Well, for that, think of all the times you have seen “Thunder acquire a future second-round pick” during this rebuild. Each time that notifications have come across your device, you likely ask yourself, “How will they have room for all these picks? So what is the point?”

While not all these picks will be used on players, some will be bundled for a better second-rounder, a cheap veteran, or to help move off a contract. This does give OKC more flexibility to use the selections on prospects if they view the draft class deeply enough.

Beyond that, Sam Presti has found value in undrafted and overlooked players that fall through the cracks and slide onto two-way pacts. The most notable, of course, being Dort and Kenrich Williams, but Waters III, Deonte Burton, Moses Brown, and Jaylen Hoard, played varying roles in varying renditions of Thunder teams from this same deal.

While most of these two-way deals will go the way of Paul Watson Jr or Josh Hall, giving Sam Presti an additional bite at the apple and an additional resource to foster second-round talents is a big deal. Of the players on this Thunder roster, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, Jaylin Williams, and Isaiah Joe were all second-round picks.

This week, the OKC Thunder showed their age. dark. Next