James, a 27-year-old rookie, is the first two-way player to have his deal converted this way. Two-way deals – which allow for a combined NBA and G-League affiliate contract – were introduced into the NBA this season as part of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement.
The Suns plan to create a roster spot for James on Thursday morning, league sources said. Barring a trade, the Suns could choose to waive forward Derrick Jones Jr.
Two-way contracts are paid on a smaller scale, and James will have exhausted his 45 days on an NBA roster on Thursday, which is counted from the first day of G-League training camp. James made a project $213,000 on the two-way contract, and could make $580,607 on a minimum NBA contract for the balance of the 2017-18 season.
James has averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 assists for the Suns in 21.8 minutes a game.
The Suns turned to James when Eric Bledsoe was suspended and eventually traded to Milwaukee, and he played well running the team. James had spent the past years playing overseas, including stops in Croatia, Israel, Spain and Greece. After stops at Eastern Arizona and Lamar, he was undrafted out of college.
ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks contributed to this report.