It isn’t the big, flashy off-season acquisition that Cleveland Cavaliers fans love, but the wine and gold are finalizing a deal to acquire forward Sam Dekker from the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Dekker will make $2.76 million in the final year of his four-year, $7.9 million deal next season and he is being acquired only for the Cavs’ $5.8 million trade exception created in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics last summer, per cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
Throughout LeBron James second go-round with the Cavs, most of, if not all, the players they added were at least average three-point shooters. There were some outliers, but for the most, all the acquisitions were able to do so, especially if they were a guard or forward. With No. 23 now with the Lakers, it seems as though three-point shooting isn’t as much of a need as it used to be, at least for their most recent acquisition.
In 12.1 minutes per game last season (73 games), the forward averaged just 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds a night while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and a dismal 16.7 percent from beyond the arc. Granted, he took just 60 three-pointers, but Dekker must improve his shooting if he wants legitimate minutes going forward.
Although he struggled while trying to find important minutes with the Clippers last season, the former Wisconsin Badger did better with more minutes with the Houston Rockets during his second season in the NBA in 2016-17. That season, Dekker averaged 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and one assist while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 32.1 percent from long distance in 18.4 minutes a game.
With the Cavs, he will likely get a shot to see some significant minutes as an energy guy off the bench. At 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, Dekker is able to defend both the three and four, which is something the Cavs badly needed off the bench. If nothing else, he adds depth.
According to Woj, the trade isn’t expected to be finalized until Monday or Tuesday.
The Cavs also waived forward Okaro White, who would have made $772,000 of his $1.5 salary next season if he was on the roster past Sunday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Cleveland now has 11 players under contract, which means they have four open spots. Dekker will be No. 12, and guard David Nwaba, who the Cavs will reportedly sign, will be No. 13.