The Cleveland Cavaliers waived four players on Friday, bringing their roster to the maximum 15 players.
The final cuts were DeSagana Diop, Jermaine Taylor, Kenny Kadji and Elliot Williams.
As expected, undrafted rookie point guard Matthew Dellavedova and second-year center Henry Sims have made the team.
The Cavs will submit their final roster to the league office by Monday at 5 p.m., so there could still be roster changes that occur, but it’s likely that this is the group the Cavs stick with for the beginning of the season.
It was assumed, even prior to preseason, that Dellavedova would make the Cavs final roster. The Cavs signed him to a partially guaranteed two-year contract worth $1.3 million in September should he make the final roster. There is also a need for a third point guard, for insurance purposes, behind Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack.
The most controversial waiver—among some fans—of the four players is Taylor. Taylor had some explosive offensive games in the preseason and looked considerably better than Delly in a few of those games. Delly also struggled mightily in the last couple of games and had some fans wondering if Taylor should make the final roster over him.
It ultimately came down to fit for the Cavs since they needed a third-string point guard and another center for insurance purposes. Thus, Delly and Sims were the obvious choices.
Taylor averaged 5.7 points and 1.9 assists in seven preseason games. His offensive talent and determination made him a fan favorite throughout preseason, but again, it came down to fit for the Cavs. With Dion Waiters, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix and several other players who can fill-in at the shooting guard position, the Cavs just didn’t need another guard. Taylor definitely belongs in the NBA, however, and this writer would be surprised if he doesn’t end up on a roster by the All-Star break.
Kadji was another talented player who had a legitimate chance to make this roster. He averaged 5.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in seven preseason games and made the most of his minutes with his constant hustle. He started preseason off with a bang against the Milwaukee Bucks, recording 15 points and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes. It seemed as though the Cavs’ final roster spot belonged to either Sims or Kadji. Sims had the upper hand right away since he is a true center, good rebounder and can defend in the post. He then showed that he also has a consistent mid-range jumper and can be a solid backup center if need be.
Williams averaged 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in six preseason games. Diop (It still isn’t clear to me why he was even invited to camp) averaged just 3.7 minutes in three preseason games.
Again, the Cavs final 15 won’t be set in stone until Monday, but this writer expects them to sit tight with how it is now. Sims and Dellavedova both fill a need for the Cavs and if everything goes as planned, neither of them should see much time in Quicken Loans Arena.
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