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Nets sign Yakuba “Billy” Ouattara of French League to two-way deal

The Nets have announced Friday the signing of their first two-way player, Yakuba “Billy” Ouattara. He’s a 25-year-old, 6’4” shooting guard from Ghana who has played for Monaco in the French League and for the French national team.

Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. In several previous cases, NBA teams have provided small guarantees, no greater than $50,000, to two-way players.

According to the Nets press release...

Ouattara (6’3”, 185) spent the 2016-17 season playing for AS Monaco Basket of the French LNB Pro A league. In 32 total games, he averaged 11.8 points on 51.4 percent (147-of-286) shooting from the floor, including a 40.0 percent (40-of-100) clip from beyond the arc, while pulling down 3.3 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per contest.

A native of Tepa, Ghana, Ouattara has been a member of the French national team because of the unavailability of a Ghanaian national team. The 25-year-old began playing professionally in 2012 and spent two seasons playing for Elan Chalon (2012-14) in the French LNB Pro A league before joining AS Monaco Basket for the past two seasons (2015-17).

Ouattera tweeted out his excitement.

Here are some highlights of Ouattara from this past season’s French All-Star game.

An powerful athlete, Ouattara has been nicknamed “The Dunkmaster” and “Wow Terra” in European hoop circles. Brooklyn was one of three NBA teams to work out Ouattara last month, according to David Pick. The others were Oklahoma City and Dallas. Pick reported at the time that Ouattara was going to focus on his duties with the French national team rather than the NBA summer league. He has been chosen for France’s preliminary national team roster and could play for “Les Bleus” in the FIBA European championships next month.

Per the new NBA collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to sign two players to two-way contracts. The players signed to the new contracts are in addition to team’s 15-man regular season roster.

A two-way player is essentially the opposite of a NBA assignee. The assignee is an NBA player who’s sent to a G-League team. Instead, the two-way player is primarily a G-League player who can be assigned to the NBA. The NBA team retains his rights throughout the course of the two-way contract which can be for as long as two years.

A player on a two-way deal can spend up to 45 days on an NBA roster, not including any time prior to the start of the G-League’s training camp and at the conclusion of their season. If a player spends more than 45 days with the big club, he must be signed to an NBA minimum deal. Also, the Nets can if they want amend the player’s two-way contract and make him a camp invite or an NBA roster player.

The Nets did not announce who will receive the other two-way deal, but CBS Sports and ESPN have reported that Jacob Wiley, a 6’7” power forward out of Eastern Washington was to be given the other. Unlike Ouattara, Wiley played for the Nets summer league team.