The Charlotte Hornets are signing former North Carolina guard Marcus Paige and former Louisville center Mangok Mathiang to the NBA’s newly-created two-way contracts, an informed source told the Observer.
Those contracts – each of 30 NBA franchises can have two two-way deals – means Paige and Mathiang will play primarily for the G-League Greensboro Swarm next season.
The intent of two-way contracts, adapted from an NHL system, allows each team to control the rights to two developmental players without them counting against the 15-man roster limit while playing in the G-League.
Previously, teams could develop players like Paige and Mathiang with their G-League affiliates, only to have another NBA team call them up to fill roster spots.
Paige was originally selected 55th overall by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2016 NBA draft, then traded to the Utah Jazz. The Jazz released Paige that October, and he then signed with the Jazz’s G-league affiliate, also in Salt Lake City. He averaged 12.2 points and 2.2 assists last season.
Paige played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in Las Vegas Summer League this summer.
In his senior season at North Carolina, Paige scored 21 points in the national championship game loss to Villanova. At 6-foot-1 he is smallish by NBA point guard standards.
Mathiang, a 6-10 center, did a pre-draft workout for the Hornets. He was not among the 60 players selected in the 2017 draft. He played for the Hornets’ summer league team last month in Orlando, Fla.
Mathiang grew up in Australia before playing for Louisville.
Under the NBA’s new two-way contracts, Paige’s and Mathiang’s salaries will not count against the Hornets’ salary cap when they are playing for Greensboro.
The Hornets are closing in on the NBA’s luxury-tax threshold of about $119 million this season. Point guard and center are both positions where the Hornets want to add to their depth.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell