Cavs, former Kentucky, Michigan guard Charles Matthews agree to Exhibit 10 deal

Michigan guard Charles Matthews handles the ball at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michigan guard Charles Matthews handles the ball at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers and former Kentucky and Michigan guard Charles Matthews reportedly agreed to a deal on Sunday.

It’s been a quiet free agency period for the Cleveland Cavaliers mostly, but shortly after the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday, Cleveland and former Penn State forward Lamar Stevens agreed on a two-way deal.

It wasn’t shocking that Cleveland wasn’t going to be too active in free agency, anyhow.

Albeit, Cleveland did make a signing on Sunday as well with another undrafted free agent, in former Kentucky and then Michigan guard Charles Matthews.

That came per a report from his Twitter account (via two tweets), as h/t Zack Geoghegan of Kentucky Sports Radio. Dwyane Wade, who is a Chicago native and seemingly has a close relationship with Matthews, given that I’d think, tweeted out his congrats on the deal, too.

For Matthews, it’s been a long road, as he transferred to Michigan and played there for two seasons after playing sparingly at Kentucky in his freshman campaign. In 2017-18 at Michigan, he had 13.0 points per outing, to go with 5.5 rebounds, and the year following, had 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

From there, Matthews had one year of eligibility left, and chose to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft, but unfortunately, suffered a torn ACL in a pre-draft workout and went undrafted. For Matthews, though, he’d been rehabbing and even co-founded a company, both as demonstrated by’s Andrew Kahn.

In terms of a recent update from Monday, the Cavaliers, as was not clear as far as the specifics to this deal on Sunday, agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with Matthews, per a report from’s Chris Fedor. Fedor laid out the details involving those types of deals here, for reference.

"“Exhibit 10 deals are one-year contracts for the league minimum salary, which come with an additional bonus of up to $50,000 if the player doesn’t make it in camp but is assigned to the team’s G League affiliate. A player with an Exhibit 10 clause can also be converted to a two-way contract by the first day of the regular season. In that case, the bonus would be rescinded and the parameters of the two-way contract apply.”"

So what might the Cavs be looking into with Matthews here, via training camp invite?

The Cavs clearly saw a guard that’s at his best as a driver in Matthews, who is a lunch pail perimeter defender.

Matthews’ key offensive attributes relate to his ability to get to the basket. He has some shake, and has good quickness to pair with that, which allowed him to draw fouls pretty consisently, as evidenced by a robust free throw rate of 36.4 percent at Michigan.

The 6-foot-6 Matthews is adept at finding the gaps as a driver in secondary transition, and showed ability with a quick first step to eat up ground on the wing when he given space to operate, which led to production attacking along the baseline.

He showed capability with quick jabs at times at getting into the paint, too, which led to success for him on the interior, where he’s an above-the-rim finisher.

Albeit as a shooter, Matthews did hit pull-ups occasionally, but in his time at Michigan, was hardly much of a spot-up, let alone off-movement shooting threat. He hit only 30.9 percent of his three-point attempts per outing at Michigan, and shot a rough 59.6 percent from the free throw line.

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Nonetheless, what I’m assuming the Cleveland Cavaliers were looking into with this Matthews signing/camp invite, was the perimeter defense he could maybe provide down the road.

Matthews’ calling card at U of M was his defensive ability on the perimeter against guards/wings.

He has the necessary fluidity you look for on the perimeter to mirror drivers, and displayed real prowess in containing perimeter pick-and-roll threats, and could close when needed on drives to the cup to contest.

He also got his share of ball denial deflections/steals in shutting off dribble hand-offs, leading to looks on the break.

In terms of the team defensive realm, Matthews closed out well to shooters, was an active rotator that would occasionally time up blocks on the weak side near the rim, and in some spot minutes, could potentially aid Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and/or Kevin Porter Jr. in that regard.

In any case, it’s clear that Matthews is hard-pressed to see potential meaningful minutes for the Cavs, as they seem pretty filled up for minutes-share at the 2/3 positions for this next season. Perhaps Matthews could make an impression, though.

But maybe consistent minutes-share with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, the Canton Charge, can allow him to further develop his game as a shooter. We’ll have to see, and it’s still uncertain if there will be a G League season.

Next. Grading the Cavs' two-way signing of Lamar Stevens. dark

It is really cool for Matthews, given the long road he’s had, though, to have agreed to terms on an Exhibit 10 deal with the Cavs.