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Hornets to convert Bryce McGowens on a four-year NBA deal, per ESPN

The 40th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft has quickly earned an upgrade in contract security.

Indiana Pacers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Charlotte Hornets will convert Bryce McGowens’ Two-Way contract to a standard four-year, $7.4M deal.

The news comes as no surprise with McGowens on the edge of head coach Steve Clifford’s rotation while rapidly approaching the active games limit on his Two-Way deal. Two-Way players are allowed to be active for up to 50 games in a season, which obviously isn’t enough now that McGowens has played well (and often) enough to established himself as a core piece of the franchise.

McGowens’ new NBA deal comes with an average annual value of $1.85M across the next four seasons (including this season) and comes with a team option in the final year of the contract. Given the flashes he’s shown so far, that’s about as much of a bargain as the Hornets were going to get. If he becomes a permanent member of the rotation, that’s an extremely team-friendly signing in the same vein as Boston inking Sam Hauser to a three-year, $5.6M contract shortly after converting him from a Two-Way to a standard NBA deal.

With the move, the Hornets currently have one open roster spot remaining and an open Two-Way slot. The 15th spot is likely on hold for he who shall not be named, but we can watch out for a potential Two-Way signing to bolster depth down the stretch. Xavier Sneed, a long-time affiliate of the Hornets organization, has played well for the Greensboro Swarm this season and is a prime candidate should the front office choose to fill the vacancy.

As the conductor of the Bryce McGowens train, I couldn’t be happier. For At The Hive’s player preview series back in the fall, yours truly stated the following:

There’s no telling how many meaningful NBA minutes McGowens will play as a rookie, but there’s a skill package present that makes the 6-foot-7 teenager an intriguing prospect nonetheless. The Hornets are currently bereft of guard depth, which helps his case quite a bit. It wouldn’t be surprising to see McGowens elevated from a Two-Way to a standard contract at some point this season, especially if a midseason trade is completed. — Chase Whitney, Oct. 5, 2022

Nailed it. Congrats to Bryce McGowens, who has earned this deal and then some. Not a bad 2022 draft class for the ole’ general Mitch Kupchak after all, huh?