OKC Thunder: Luguentz Dort, two-way players included in NBA's return
The NBA plans to allow teams to resume the season with 17 players, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Thursday.
Expanded rosters, from 15 to 17 players, will reportedly include two-way contract players.
That's good news for the Thunder and Luguentz Dort.
Dort made 21 consecutive starts for the Thunder (40-24) before the season was suspended. The undrafted rookie guard from Arizona State averaged 6.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. He regularly defended the opposing team's best offensive guard.
It's still unclear if two-way players will be allowed to play in the playoffs. There will be eight "seeding games" at Disney World before the playoffs begin.
Players on two-way contracts have been prohibited from postseason play in prior seasons, but exceptions might be made for this untraditional restart.
In a normal season, the Thunder would need to convert Dort's two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, or reach a long-term agreement, to have him available in the playoffs.
If Dort and the Thunder can't reach a long-term deal, the Thunder could make him a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer this offseason.
"Certainly we were gonna look at all ways to figure that out, but obviously we didn't get to that point," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "Now we just have to see what the options are and then make our best decision. But he's clearly someone that we want to have with us going forward. That would be my expectation. That would be my hope."
Two-way players, who bounce between the G League and NBA, are limited to 45 days with their big-league club. Dort's number of days with the Thunder isn't publicly available, but the Thunder was maximizing Dort's days by not having him practice with the team. Practices count toward the 45-day limit, but travel days do not.
Kevin Hervey, a 6-foot-9 forward, is the Thunder's other two-way player. Hervey appeared in seven games this season.
Even with Dort and Hervey added to the roster, the Thunder will have 16 players. That leaves one open spot if the NBA decides to increase rosters to 17.