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NBA G League 101: How Do Call-Ups Work?

Lester Quinones was one of 58 total Call-Ups during the 2022-23 NBA G League season, signing both a 10-Day and later a Two-Way Contract with the Golden State Warriors after playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League.

29 of the 31 NBA G League teams are singly affiliated with an NBA franchise, but that does not mean that NBA franchises own exclusive rights to all of the players on their NBA G League roster (like in Major League Baseball).

Outside of Two-Way Players and players on NBA Assignment, the majority of players in the NBA G League are available for any of the 30 NBA teams to sign (call up); these NBA G League players have signed contracts with the league rather than their individual team, so by NBA standards they are technically free agents.

This is why, for example, the Miami Heat could call up a Memphis Grizzlies "prospect" from the Grizzlies' affiliate -- as they did in 2014 when they signed center Hassan Whiteside.

Click here for the list of all-time GATORADE Call-Ups

There are three types of players on NBA G League rosters whose rights are exclusively owned by NBA teams:

1) Assignees

An NBA team can assign a player from its big-league roster to its NBA G League affiliate. This player remains under contract with the assigning NBA team and can be recalled by only that team.

>> NBA G League 101: Assignments

2) Two-Way Players

Beginning in the 2017 offseason, NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players with the addition of two spots for players under “Two-Way Contracts.” For the 2023-24 season, each NBA team is permitted to have up to three players under Two-Way Contracts on its roster at any time (in addition to the maximum 15 players under Standard NBA Contracts).

NBA teams may have up to three players under NBA Two-Way Contracts who may be active for up to 50 games with their NBA team. Players signed to Two-Way Contracts are paid one salary for their time in both leagues. Only players with three or fewer years of NBA service are able to sign Two-Way Contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.

>> NBA G League 101: Two-Way Players

3) Draft Rights Players

An NBA team can acquire a player in the NBA Draft, decline to sign him to an NBA contract and instead allow him to sign with the NBA G League. In that case, the NBA team's NBA G League affiliate can acquire that player directly, bypassing the usual NBA G League player selection processes.

>> NBA G League 101: NBA Draft Rights Players

The other exception to this rule lies in players who enter the G League as a path to the NBA Draft. NBA G League players who still have NBA Draft eligibility cannot be called up to the NBA.

>> NBA G League 101: NBA Draft History