Usually capped at 15, the NBA and the G League made it possible for rosters to expand to 17 players with the introduction of two-way contracts.
Started in 2017, the two-way contract allowed a young player to split playing time between the NBA team and the G League affiliate. It allowed greater roster flexibility in the scenario of injuries or player development for a prospect a team really relished.
Teams have two spots designated for two-way players, and before the coronavirus pandemic struck, two-way players could spend up to 45 days on an NBA roster. Players didn’t have to make an appearance in a game for the days to matter.
But since the pandemic forced the NBA to create health and safety protocols to limit the virus’ transmission, the league made the rules regarding two-way players more flexible, such as giving them unlimited time with the NBA roster (until their contract expired) both in the regular season and playoffs.
However, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the league is planning to change the playoff rule next season while maintaining the newer relaxed ones:
Players who have recently had their contracts converted to be on the main 15-man roster include Juan Toscano-Anderson of the Golden State Warriors, P.J. Dozier of the Denver Nuggets, Chimezie Metu of the Sacramento Kings and more.
The Los Angeles Lakers have two two-way players: Kostas Antetokounmpo and Devontae Cacok. However, both are restricted free agents this summer, and it’s unclear if they will return.