The Lakers sign Travis Wear isn’t something I expected to hear today, but here we are. The team announced Wear’s signing via a press release today. Wear, who played for the Lakers summer league championship team, is a stretch PF who helped space the floor as both a 4 and, in some super small lineups, a 5 in Las Vegas.
If the timing of this deal seems strange, it kind of is. After all, the Lakers just released two players this week to bring their training camp roster down to 18. Wear’s signing, then, brings them back up to 19, and does so right before the last exhibition game and before additional cuts will need to be made.
NBA rosters can have a maximum of 17 players, but two of those are for 2-way contracts which allow a player to float between the the G-League affiliate and the main NBA roster fairly easily. These contracts pay out more money than a standard G-League contract, but the number of days the player can spend with the NBA team is capped.
Which brings us back to Wear and the nature of his contract. Wear is not a two-way contract, but his deal is not your typical, non-guaranteed NBA deal:
The non-guaranteed contract Travis Wear signed with Lakers was a new "Exhibit 10" deal, meaning he'll most likely end up in the G-League.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 12, 2017
What is an “Exhibit 10” deal, you ask? We turn to Collective Bargaining Agreement master Larry Coon and his CBA FAQ:
If a standard NBA contract includes an attachment called Exhibit 10, the team receives the right to convert the contract to a Two-Way contract. Whether or not an eligible contract includes an Exhibit 10 is a matter of negotiation between the player and team. To be eligible to contain an Exhibit 10, a contract must be for one season at the minimum salary, with no bonuses of any kind (other than an optional Exhibit 10 bonus), and no compensation protection (see question number 63)1.
An Exhibit 10 bonus can pay the player from $5,000 to $50,000 if the player is waived by his NBA team, signs with the D-League, is assigned to the NBA team’s D-League affiliate, and stays there at least 60 days. A team can only add an Exhibit 10 bonus if the team actually has a D-League affiliate team. An Exhibit 10 can also specify a Conversion Protection Amount between $5,000 and $50,000, which becomes compensation protection if the contract is converted to a Two-Way contract. If a contract contains an Exhibit 10 bonus it must also contain a Conversion Protection Amount in the same amount.
Coon also notes that if an Exhibit 10 contract is going to be converted to a 2-way contract, it must happen before the start of the regular season. Which means, the Lakers have almost a week to make a decision on whether Wear will join Alex Caruso on a 2-way deal and, thus, create a full roster. As it stands, the Lakers have 15 players who are likely to make the team (sorry Briante Weber and Vander Blue), plus Caruso (whose 2-way deal would make 16).
One thing to keep an eye on here which is total speculation on my part…
Caruso’s 2-way deal can be converted to a standard NBA contract at any point before the regular season ends. As noted in my game recap from the loss to the Jazz, Caruso has now outplayed Tyler Ennis in the past two games. Luke Walton also credited Caruso for steadying the team in the Lakers win against the Kings and that Caruso is “catching the eye” of the coaching staff. You might see where I’m going with this…
I would not shock me if Caruso makes this roster over Ennis or, if at some point — even if it’s after the season starts — Ennis is waived in favor of Caruso. Ennis’ contract is fully guaranteed this year, but is not for the 2nd year of his deal. Waiving him only costs the Lakers money and doing so could create some roster flexibility that the team forfeited when they signed Andrew Bogut as their “15th” player.
Again, I’m just speculating and could end up being totally wrong on this. But, I think, it’s worth monitoring how the roster shifts around over the next week before the regular season starts (and, even, into the start of the season).
In any event, welcome back Travis Wear.