College Sports

Two Gamecocks land NBA two-way deals, including Chris Silva

Chris Silva entered Miami Heat training camp as one of six players competing for the organization’s two two-way contracts.

A few weeks later, the rookie from South Carolina knows where he’ll be playing this season.

First reported by The Associated Press and later confirmed by the Miami Herald, Silva was rewarded with a two-way deal Friday night. P.J. Dozier, Silva’s former teammate with the Gamecocks and 2015 recruiting classmate, is on the same contract with the Denver Nuggets.

A two-way deal allows a player to spend up to 45 days with an NBA team during the G League season and the rest of the time must be spent with the team’s developmental affiliate, and the contract prevents the player from being signed by another NBA team. According to the Miami Herald, Silva is expected to spend most of the season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

(The Nuggets don’t have a designated G League affiliate.)

After a second All-SEC nod in four years, Silva went undrafted out of USC. He was soon signed by Miami to an “Exhibit 10” contract in July. All that guaranteed was a chance for a two-way deal. He got it after 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 9.8 minutes per preseason game.

Silva’s hustle and athleticism — staples of his play at Carolina — have drawn comparisons in Miami to veteran Heat player Udonis Haslem.

“In terms of the ferocity, the competitiveness, the aggressiveness on the glass ... yeah, you can make those comparisons,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters in Miami earlier this week. “I mentioned that to Chris in one of our film sessions that just the way he approaches the game every single day with that competitive edginess to him is similar to the guy who’s going to have his number retired here.

“That’s a perfect example of somebody who may have had to do it in a different way, not getting drafted and having to play overseas. But he fought and scratched and crawled his way back to be in this league, and he was not going to take no for an answer. Just from the little bit I’ve gotten to know Chris, I think he’s going to be similar. He’s going to make you have to make decisions. That’s what you want from young players.”

Haslem in high school played for Frank Martin, Silva’s coach at USC.

Dozier, who went undrafted in 2017, has appeared in eight career NBA games, including six with the Boston Celtics last season.

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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