Allonzo Trier has worked several days on the Knicks for free

How NBA service time rules impact Allonzo Trier's paycheck.

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Allonzo Trier went undrafted in the 2018 draft. Whether scouts missed on him or were concerned with his PED suspensions, it doesn’t matter now. He went undrafted, which limited his ability to hold much bargaining power as a rookie free agent.

Hence, the Knicks were able to sign him to a two-way contract.

While everyone expects the Knicks to clear a roster spot and sign Trier to an NBA contract in December, an interesting caveat in the way NBA service time is calculated for two-way players has him playing several days for free.

Free, you say?

Well, let’s get into it.

There are three NBA service rules for two-way players that impact Trier’s service time this season:

  1. NBA service does not start accruing until G-League training camp begins.
  2. The days that Trier doesn’t participate in a basketball activity with the team are excluded.
  3. A new rule excludes travel days.

To the first rule, Trier was able to stay with the Knicks for about one month of time before any of his 45-day service limit started to depreciate. This provided the Knicks with a longer look at the iso-heavy guard, ultimately leading to rotation minutes, which in the end, could lead to an NBA contract.

All is good, right?

Mostly. But where this rule hurts two-way players is in their paychecks.

Two-way salary is calculated by multiplying the league minimum salary for a player with 0 years of service by the number of NBA service days they accrue.

This means that the entire time Trier spent with the Knicks in training camp, playing in preseason games, and balling out for the first three games of the regular season, are excluded from his NBA pay.

Combining the second and third NBA service time rules mentioned above into one thought, any day the Knicks travel, or Trier doesn’t participate in a basketball activity, are also excluded from his NBA service day count.

The recently changed rule for excluding travel days from their NBA service calculation is designed to help two-way players find more meaningful time with their NBA club instead of wasting away service time on buses or planes.

This all sounds favorable to the player since a two-way player is usually trying to prove something in the league and the more actual game days they get to do that, the better.

But all of these days that don’t “count” as service time also don’t count in calculating the amount of NBA salary two-way players receive for days they worked with the NBA club.

What does this all mean?

In the grand scheme of things, not a lot. I expect Trier to be rewarded handsomely in the near future, so he will do just fine for himself. All of this service day math makes it difficult to calculate exactly when Trier’s two-way NBA service time expires. However, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Trier’s date is around December 15, depending on if a practice, or two, is cancelled along the way. So expect Trier to sign an NBA deal close to that date.

This is really a labor discussion.

From an opportunity perspective, extending the number of days a G-League player can remain in the NBA, whether paid or not, helps, and perhaps a player earns an NBA contract as a direct result of that added service time.

From a labor perspective, it doesn’t seem fair that two-way players should be forced to work on days they are technically not paid.

Of course, even though two-way players are compensated on a daily basis, you could also look at it from an aggregate standpoint.

While Trier will get paid for less days than he serves with the Knicks, his real “paid” amount is the total value of 45 days worth of NBA salary at the rookie minimum rate (approximately $213,169), which is a lot better than the fraction he would have earned each day had he spent those days down in Westchester making G-League pay.