Former D-League MVP Vander Blue has signed as the Los Angeles Lakers’ second, two-way contract player for the 2017 season. Four days ago and with just a week before the start of the NBA regular season, on October 14th, the Lakers filed for waivers on forward Travis Wear, guard Briante Weber and on Blue.
Waiving Weber and Blue almost guaranteed the team’s 15th roster spot to veteran center Andrew Bogut. The big-man sat out all of last season after breaking his leg in less than two minutes of being on the floor. He does have a good relationship with head coach Luke Walton, as they both won a championship on the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
The move is well deserved for Blue, who has been with the Lakers organization for over three seasons now playing between the upper team and their, then D-League, affiliate Los Angeles D-Fenders, now known as the South Bay Lakers of the G-League.
As a member of the D-Fenders, Blue averaged 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game during his MVP season in 2016. He also was a valuable contributor from his guard spot on the Lakers team that won the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League championship.
New rule changes allow each NBA team to have two players, designated on specialized two-way contracts, that can play on both the NBA team and their G-League affiliate during the season. The new rules essentially bring the rosters to 17 players.
There are other, very specific, rules pertaining to the new contracts. Such as, the player can only spend 45 days with the “senior” team, although no time is guaranteed. Players on two-way contracts will also have greater earning power than those only in the G-League.
According to SB Nation, players on two-way contracts will earn a base salary of $75,000 in the G-League and will be paid the NBA league minimum for the days they are called up. If the player is called up for all 45 days, they could earn an extra $204,000; bringing their yearly salary to $279,000. Compared to the $26,000 salary of a G-League player.
Currently 20 of the 30 NBA teams have utilized both of their two-way contract slots for the upcoming season. As of now, the Lakers have all 17 players under contract, with Caruso and Blue designated as their two-ways players.
The Lakers’ front office was wise to sign a player before the start of the 2017 regular season on Thursday. Also, signing Blue to their team keeps another team from signing away the reigning G-League MVP.