There are three broad categories of players in the CBA — (1) rookies (players that have never signed an NBA contract), (2) veterans (players who have signed at least one contract), and (3) two-way players (a new category created in this round of collective bargaining that allows players to play in both the NBA and the developmental league, now called the “G league”).
A rookie is a player who has never signed a contract with an NBA team. A draft rookie is a rookie who is selected in the draft, and a non-draft rookie is a rookie who is not selected in the first draft they’re eligible for.
A veteran is a player who has signed at least one contract with an NBA team. A veteran can be classified for free agency in a variety of ways (each explained in more detail in the free agency concept): (i) as a qualifying veteran free agent (“Bird” rights), (ii) as an early qualifying veteran free agent (“Early Bird” rights), or (iii) as a non-qualifying veteran free agent.
A Two-Way Player provides services primarily to his NBA team’s G League affiliate. However, a Two-Way Player can serve on the NBA team’s active list or inactive list for up to 45 days during a season. Days that a Two-Way Player spends with the NBA team before the G league starts and after the G league ends do not count towards the 45-day limit. A Two-Way Player must be signed to a two-way contract and may only be paid their two-way salary. A team cannot have more than 2 Two-Way Players on its roster..
Note, a Two-Way Player can only play in the playoffs if before his team’s last regular season game either (i) the player is signed to a standard NBA contract or (ii) the team converts the two-way contract to a standard NBA contract. Otherwise, the Two-Way Player can only travel and practice with the team and serve on the inactive list.