With one consolation game remaining on their summer league schedule set for this evening against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Chicago Bulls announced Friday afternoon that they would be signing Antonio Blakeney to a two-way contract, per Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score.
For those not familiar with how the NBA’s new two-way contracts work, the additional roster spots created by the league this year will serve as spaces that allow players to alternate between the NBA and G-League rosters of their respective teams over a 45 day period. This allows teams to put players through a flexible “tryout” phase that can fluctuate between both the NBA and G-League without the need of additional transactions to make room on the NBA roster when calling up a player from the G-League. The salary of the player also proportionally fluctuates depending on which roster they are assigned to over the course of the contract.
Blakeney has been a nice surprise find for a Bulls summer league team that has seen a plethora of absences from its core players due to injuries and early departures for personal reasons. In four games, Blakeney has averaged 16.8 ppg on 43.8% shooting from the field to go along with 5.0 rebounds per contest. He also shot 64.3% from 3-PT range, showed a great knack for getting to the freethrow line (17 attempts last game), and exhibited some nice athleticism for a 6’4” tweener guard:
Blakeney’s role as an NBA player is still unclear at this point. He doesn’t facilitate enough to effectively play as a point guard, but he also doesn’t quite have the size most NBA teams want out of modern day shooting guards. However, it’s clear that Blakeney is a more than capable scoring threat, and he could definitely become a nice offensive weapon off the bench some time in the future. After all, there have been more than a few stretches during this summer league where Blakeney has had to shoulder the offensive load for the Bulls literally all by himself.
Either way, players such Blakeney that have shown signs of potential are exactly why the league put these two-way contracts into action this offseason, so kudos to Bulls management for utilizing the new NBA legislation appropriately. Going forward, it will be interesting to monitor Blakeney’s progress with the team once the season gets underway in a few months.