Rockets signing prospect big man Ray Spalding to two-way contract

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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The Houston Rockets are signing athletic 6-foot-10 big man Ray Spalding to a two-way contract, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Two-way players are allowed to shuttle back and forth between the G League and the NBA. Unlike most years, however, players on two-way deals can spend nearly the entire 2020-21 season in the NBA, owing to relaxed roster rules for the COVID-19 pandemic.

A second-round pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Spalding averaged 4.2 points (53.2% FG) and 3.7 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game with the Phoenix Suns as a rookie. The Rockets briefly signed Spalding before the 2019-20 season to acquire his G League rights, and this will potentially be his first NBA regular-season action since that rookie year.

In two games with the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Vipers this season, Spalding has averaged 18.5 points (60.0% FG) and 13.0 rebounds in 27.5 minutes. With starting center Christian Wood out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle, the 23-year-old could help compensate in the short-term for the lack of size and athleticism in Houston’s frontcourt.

Since RGV is Houston’s official G League affiliate, Spalding has much more organizational knowledge and experience than an outside free agent signing would. That could help him make a more immediate impact. In the 2019-20 season, Spalding averaged 15.5 points (62.7% FG) and 8.5 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game with the Vipers.

The Rockets had previously given their only two-way roster slots to rookie guards Mason Jones and Brodric Thomas. Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Thomas will be waived to clear a spot for Spalding. But unless another NBA team signs him, Houston will retain his G League rights, and Thomas will continue to play for the Vipers.

Spalding will be traveling from the G League’s “bubble” site near Orlando to New York, where he should be able to join the Rockets in time for their next game on Saturday night. Since he’s already in a COVID-19 testing protocol, he should be eligible to immediately join team activities.

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