June 17, 2024

Cleveland Cavaliers Sign rookie guard To Four-Year Deal

Koby Altman, J.B. Bickerstaff have complete faith in Cleveland Cavaliers -  Fear The Sword

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Cleveland Cavaliers have signed rookie guard Craig Porter Jr. to a four-year deal.

Porter Jr., an undrafted rookie guard from Wichita State, was on a two-way deal with the Cavs. He, though, has never appeared in a G League game for the Cleveland Charge. He might never.

Porter Jr. has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2023-24 Cavs season. When the team signed him, the plan was to bring him along slowly and spend time in the G League. But instead, he was forced into NBA action when Ricky Rubio stepped away from the team due to mental health issues and eventually agreeing to a buyout with the team. Additionally, guard Ty Jerome hurt his ankle in Cleveland’s home opener and hasn’t played since. Darius Garland also missed time with injury.

So far, Porter Jr. has looked composed and more settled than a normal rookie. In 32 games (including five starts), he’s averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 assists in 14.7 minutes per game. His best game as a pro was in one of his five starts. On Dec. 23 when the Cavs beat the Chicago Bulls 109-105, he scored 19 points and dished out 8 assists in nearly 40 minutes. Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley all missed that game.

Porter Jr.’s minutes have dipped of late now that the team is healthy. He has not more than garbage time minutes since playing 21 on Jan. 22 against the Orlando MagicMAGIC. He had been inactive in three of the last four games. But now he’ll be active for all of Cleveland’s games going forward and available for minutes if he’s called on.

Per cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, Porter Jr.’s deal is a multi-year deal with multiple non-guaranteed years. It’s a similar deal structure to the ones the Cavs have signed players like Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and Sam Merrill to during Koby Altman’s tenure. If he sticks, the Cavs have a cost effective backup point guard. That could be potentially valuable as they try to navigate spending next season and beyond if the team can be kept together. And if he doesn’t develop, Porter Jr. can be waived with no real financial impact. In the short term at least, Porter Jr. also gets a pay bump from his two-way deal.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors

Cleveland now has an open two-way roster slot. Per Fedor, they will wait until afer the All-Star break to sign a player to a two-way deal and join Emoni Bates and Isaiah Mobley in those slots. Zhaire Smith, who the team just signed to a 10-day deal, is a candidate for that slot once his 10-day deal expires.

 

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