Jacob Pullen will take the stairs if he has to.
The 27-year-old point guard is determined to make an NBA roster, and he doesn't care how he gets there.
So, instead of accepting another lucrative contract to remain overseas, the 6-foot-1 Pullen on Saturday had his deal with the 76ers converted into a two-way deal.
NBA rosters expanded from 15 to 17 players this season, and the final two spots are for two-way players who can go between the NBA and the G-League, formerly the NBA Development League.
An issue is that NBA teams are allowed to bring two-way players up for a maximum of 45 days. After that, teams have to sign players to the regular 15-man roster or send them to the G-League. In that case, the Sixers would have to release someone to make room for Pullen.
Unless that happens, Pullen will spend most of his time with the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers' G-League affiliate. In a best-case scenario, a two-way player can make up to around $280,000. The minimum salary for a full-time NBA player is around $815,000 for the 2017-18 season.
"Knowing what I know now and knowing what my dreams are, where I want to be, you have to take this," Pullen said of the two-way contract. "I tell people all the time, there are three ways to the top — the escalator, elevator, stairs. Some people get the elevator. Some get the escalator. Some walk up all of the flights of stairs.
"The NBA is an important thing to me now. It's a dream that I want to come true. So I'll take the stairs."
The Sixers were impressed with Pullen this preseason when he was one of their low-minute, sharp-shooting reserve point guards. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.0 assist in 6.8 minutes per game. The Chicago native went undrafted out of Kansas State in 2011 and spent last season with the Russian team BC Khimki in Moscow.
Before that, he has overseas stints with Angelico Biella (Italy), Hapoel Jerusalem (Israel), Virtus Bologna (Italy), FC Barcelona (Spain), Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain), New Basket Brindisi (Italy) and KK Cedevita (Croatia) before playing for Khimki.
Having already enjoyed lucrative contracts overseas, Pullen isn't hurting for money. So his main focus is turning his two-way contract into a full-time NBA gig.
Also on Saturday, the Sixers announced they had waived James Blackmon Jr., Kris Humphries and Emeka Okafor. They temporarily replaced them on the roster with James Webb III, Andrew Andrews and Marc Loving.
Monday is the final day for teams to trim rosters to 15 full-time players and two two-way players. Most teams – including the Sixers – completed their final cuts by Saturday's 5 p.m. waiver call. They did that to avoid paying money to released players with non-guaranteed deals while they cleared the 48-hour waiver period.
So why did the Sixers sign Webb, Andrews and Loving? It's because NBA teams can designate up to four players they cut during the preseason to their G-League affiliate. So they're going to designate those three players and most likely Blackmon.