The New Orleans Pelicans are taking advantage of the NBA’s newest contract designation by adding a pair of players via two-way contracts.
Guards Jalen Jones and Charles Cooke agreed to terms with the Pelicans on two-way deals, league sources told The Advocate amid multiple reports Monday.
Jones and Cooke are expected to participate in training camp, an opportunity to crack the team’s final 15-man roster. Even if they fail to reach that point, the Pelicans can retain their services in the G-League (formerly known as the D-League).
Both provide depth on the wing and displayed the ability to defend multiple positions during summer-league play.
Cooke, a rookie out of Dayton, stood out as a sharpshooter, converting 39 percent of his 3-point attempts in each of his final two college seasons. Although he stands 6-foot-5, Cooke’s wingspan is listed at 6-11, giving him additional versatility.
Jones has already served a stint in the NBA's development league. In 46 starts with the Maine Red Claws last year, the former Texas A&M standout averaged 21 points and 8.9 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 swingman averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds during six games in Las Vegas, proving to coach Alvin Gentry he is capable of helping the Pelicans going forward.
Both moves are low-risk propositions for New Orleans. Players under two-way contracts aren’t counted against the salary cap and will be restricted free agents after their deal expires. A two-way contract can only last up to two years and excludes bonuses, extra compensation or options for future years.
The NBA season is split into 170 days, and a player on a two-way deal can only spend 45 days with his NBA team, receiving the minimum salary set at $815,615 for the 2017-18 season. The remaining 125 days, the player is paid at the rate of his G-League salary, which is capped at $75,000.