When the Los Angeles Lakers cut Vander Blue, who was on a two-way contract that saw him playing on both their NBA roster and the South Bay Lakers in the G League, there was speculation about what the team would do with the two-way deal they had just freed up.
With the Jan. 15 deadline to sign another player to a two-way contract — which allows the signed player to spend the majority of their time on an NBA team’s G League affiliate while also spending up to 45 days on an NBA roster while making NBA salary — the team had to decide fast whether they would take a flyer on another two-way player.
The Lakers reportedly made their decision Sunday and will sign guard Gary Payton II to their second two-way contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports!:
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers are planning to sign guard Gary Payton II to a two-way NBA contract. Payton is expected to join the team in Memphis.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 15, 2018
With Tyler Ennis hardly setting the world on fire and the Lakers needing a true back-up point guard, signing Payton — the son of Hall-of-Famer and former Lakers guard Gary Payton — makes sense.
Payton has previously spent time in the G League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Wisconsin Herd, as well as playing in 18 games over the last two season with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 assists in 11.4 minutes per game.
As a 30.6 percent career 3-point shooter in the G League, Payton won’t fix the Lakers’ long-distance woes, but he will give them a dose of athleticism and has shot 63.6 percent on twos during his time in the G League while driving to the basket at will.
In addition, Payton provides depth that the Lakers may be in need of. Lonzo Ball was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his sore left knee, and his availability for Monday’s game is in question.
Along with Payton likely joining the Lakers for their game with the Memphis Grizzlies, the team called up Alex Caruso from South Bay.