The 60 picks of the draft came and went on Wednesday night without Howard hearing his name called. However, that’s not the end of the show by any means, and The Athletic’s Shams Charania was quickly on the spot to report that the Denver Nuggets have come to an agreement on a two-way contract with Howard.
Howard wrapped up his collegiate career by leading the country in scoring at 27.8 points per game, the third straight season that Howard averaged at least 20 points per game for Marquette. The Arizona native also added 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, and shot over 40% from behind the three-point line for the fourth consecutive season.
Denver finished the 2019-20 NBA regular season with a record of 46-27, earning the #3 seed in the Western Conference. They then became the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 deficit twice in one year’s playoff as they knocked off first Utah then the Clippers in seven games to reach the Western Conference Finals. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are the top two stars for the Nuggets, with Jokic’s deft touch all over the court helping him average 19.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game and finish ninth in NBA Most Valuable Player voting.
Because I know you’re wondering: A two-way contract means that the player in question will spend a majority of the season with a team in the G-League. The player can spend not more than 45 days with the NBA franchise in question. According to the rules when the system was created in 2017, the G-League salary for a player on a two-way deal is $75,000, nearly triple that of your standard G-League player. If Howard were to get called up to the Nuggets during the regular season, then he would make the NBA minimum salary for a rookie, which would be a prorated section of what was $816,000 back in 2017. With a 45 day max, he could earn up to $204,000.
Denver does not have a G-League affiliate, so for the moment, it’s not exactly clear where Howard would end up. It’s also not clear exactly how that gets decided. Last year, Bol Bol was on a two-way contract with the Nuggets, and he played eight games for the Windy City Bulls, which is the affiliate for the Chicago Bulls. We will see what happens exactly, but the good news for Howard is that he’s at least guaranteed a spot in the G-League for the upcoming 2020-21 season.... presuming that the G-League has a season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.