According to David Pick of Eurobasket.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers are negotiating a free agent deal with Croatian forward Damjan Rudez. Rudez worked out for the Cavs a few weeks back and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, other teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz were interested in his services. No specifics of the deal have been reported.
Rudez, 27, is a 6’10” power forward and is seen as a cheap stretch four that can come over now and contribute now with his shooting ability. With Spanish Zaragoza of the Liga ACB in Spain and Eurobasket (a step below the Euroleague) last season was a marksman. Rudez shot 44.1 percent from 3-point range in ACB play and 51.9 percent in Eurocup, which the Eurobasket championship tournament. His play in Liga ACB was a much larger sample size, as he played 36 games in ACB vs. just 16 in the Eurocup. In those 36 games, Rudez averaged 10.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game. His rebounding numbers are concerning, as his rebounding rates would be below average for an NBA point guard per ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.
If the Cavs see Rudez as a power forward, however, it worth noting that his skill set is a lot closer to Anthony Bennett‘s than to Tristan Thompson‘s. But his rebounding issues and weighing at 200 pounds, Rudez may need to play some small forward at the NBA to maximize his shooting ability. That alone could merit some playing time for Rudez as early as next season on a Cavs team that had trouble with spacing last season.