Entering Saturday’s bout with Paolo Banchero and the Magic, things are definitely looking up for the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. Before the recent blip versus Detroit, the team had won five straight games to get itself back into the playoff hunt. And Andrew Wiggins and Andre Iguodala are both finally back in the fold (with Stephen Curry seemingly hot on their heels).
That’s not to say that the team doesn’t still have some things to sort out, however. One particular issue — the fate of two-way ballers Ty Jerome and Anthony Lamb — is becoming more and more pressing by the day.
And that reality isn’t lost on head coach Steve Kerr who, along with team president and GM Bob Myers, will ultimately have to make a decision on which, if either, will move into a more long-term spot with the club.
“Yeah, it’s something we’re going to have to address here soon,” Kerr said at Warriors practice on Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.
Ty Jerome & Anthony Lamb Are Only Allotted So Many Main-Roster Games
Thanks in large part to injuries — with a dash of underperformance for good measure — the Warriors have been forced to lean much harder than anyone would have anticipated on their two-way signees. And the duo has definitely met the moment.
For his part, Lamb has played in a whopping 31 of the Dubs’ 39 games heading into the showdown with the Magic. Jerome, meanwhile, has logged 23 appearances of his own in addition to spending two additional games on the active roster (although he didn’t actually play in them).
These numbers are significant because players who are signed to two-way deals can spend no more than 50 total games on an NBA team’s active roster. Moreover, two-way players are ineligible to participate in postseason action regardless of how much run they’ve seen during the regular season.
So, both players could conceivably hit their expiration dates before the 2022-23 season reaches its conclusion.
“We have to navigate that,” Kerr said of the balancing act. “There will be some games where those guys will not suit up.”
Deciding How to Use Them, Who to Keep Has Some Caveats
As with other Dubs two-way signees over the years, Kerr and Co. have managed to get significant mileage out of Lamb and Jerome, as both have basically been rotation players. The former has averaged 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 19.3 minutes per game, while the latter has put up 7.5 PPG and 2.4 APG in 18.0 MPG.
So, one could make a case for either having their deal converted to a standard NBA pact. And, as it happens, the Warriors still have an open roster spot they could use to do so.
That said, as of January 5, teams are able to sign players to 10-day contracts. And Golden State may feel inclined to use that spot for the auditioning of free agents instead.
There’s also the matter of Lamb being named in a civil suit stemming, in part, from an alleged sexual assault while he was a student-athlete at Vermont. The accusations that were levied at the baller didn’t preclude the Warriors from signing him, but that doesn’t mean they won’t continue to be a factor in the team’s future decision-making.
“Anthony is not a defendant in this recent lawsuit and, to our knowledge, he has never been charged with any wrongdoing in any legal case,” the Warriors said in a statement to SFGATE last month. “Prior to signing Anthony in September, we did our due diligence with the NBA and his prior teams, as we do with all players. If any new information comes to light, we will certainly evaluate it and act accordingly.”