Days after being waived by the Los Angeles Lakers, Joel Ayayi has signed a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards, reuniting the former Gonzaga guard with college teammates Corey Kispert and Rui Hachimura.
Ayayi’s deal was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic. Under the guidelines of his two-way contract, Ayayi will be eligible to play up to 50 games with the Wizards during the 2021-22 season but will also spend time with the team’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.
The NBA season nearly started with two teams carrying three former Gonzaga players, but the Memphis Grizzlies waived David Stockton on Saturday, one day after adding him to a roster that already included Brandon Clarke and Killian Tillie.
After helping Gonzaga reach the program’s second national championship game, Ayayi wasn’t selected in the 2021 NBA Draft and signed a two-way deal with the Lakers in July.
The 21-year-old guard from France didn’t have much success in the NBA summer league, averaging 4.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 21.7 minutes per game, and played sparingly for the Lakers in the preseason, scoring just two points in 46 total minutes. Ayayi went 1 of 10 from the field in five preseason games and had four rebounds with one assist in three minutes during the Lakers’ preseason finale against Sacramento.
Finding floor time among a crowded Wizards backcourt could be challenging for Ayayi. Not including Ayayi, Washington’s roster lists six guards: Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aaron Holiday, Raul Neto, Cassius Winston and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Ayayi was a two-year starter at Gonzaga after redshirting for the Bulldogs in his first season and receiving limited playing time as a freshman. As a sophomore, Ayayi averaged 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals, before boosting numbers as a junior, when the guard averaged 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
COMING UP Wednesday: Washington at Toronto, 4:30 p.m.
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