Nets forward Jalen Wilson celebrates his three point shot against...

Nets forward Jalen Wilson celebrates his three point shot against the Celtics during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center on Feb. 13, 2024. Credit: Brad Penner

It was only a matter of time before Jalen Wilson was rewarded for spending more minutes in the Nets’ rotation since the trade deadline.

The reward came Friday as his two-way contract was converted to a standard NBA deal. Wilson signed a three-year contract that gives him more stability after the Nets drafted him 51st overall in the second round last summer.

“It means a lot,” Wilson said before Saturday’s game. “This is the birthplace of my professional career, so it’s just pretty cool to see how valuable people feel [that] I am. Just a blessing to be here, a lot of love around here.”

He’s averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 21 games and has been the lone Nets rookie to earn consistent playing time. His 43.3% shooting on three-pointers (13-for-30) hints at the potential he first showed during NBA Summer League play.

It was even more special as Wilson called his parents, Derale and Lisa, on FaceTime to share the moment. Both of them were wide-eyed with joy over his contract being converted.

“You never really know what can happen tomorrow,” Wilson said. “Just to see their faces and the excitement, just to be able to tell them that I do have a place I’m going to be at. I feel like every kid dreams of telling their parents that they’re really making it, and I think it’s just a special moment that I’ll never forget.”

Interim coach Kevin Ollie called Wilson a constant professional and a leader who’s always working on his game. Wilson has played in every game since the trade deadline and has shown a knack for making smart decisions.

“We see those qualities in him,” Ollie said. “We see the leadership in him and he’s just going to continue to develop because he’s open for learning and he’s eager for learning.”

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