Cavs to make sensible move in signing Mfiondu Kabengele to 10-day

Big Mfiondu Kabengele, then of the LA Clippers, looks to make a play. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Big Mfiondu Kabengele, then of the LA Clippers, looks to make a play. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have recently gotten back Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova, and both have made their presences’ felt in the past handful of games.

Albeit, it has been tough that the Wine and Gold have been without the services of Jarrett Allen (concussion) and Larry Nance Jr. (illness) of late.

Nance, for further context, is getting better, but he reportedly lost nearly 20 pounds in a stretch since March 29 because of complications with a recent illness, per Chris Fedor of And he’ll likely be inactive in Cleveland’s upcoming weekend back-to-back at home as well, per Fedor’s report, so we’ll have to see as to when he is back.

It will take some time for him to gradually gain that weight/his stamina back, but hopefully fairly soon, we see Jr. out there again.

Anyway, what’s been the case for the Cavs’ depth/roster-wise is that they’ve been with 13 rostered players since Quinn Cook’s second 10-day deal expired mid-last week, and he was not given a rest-of-season deal.

It was a matter of time before Cleveland would seemingly make another 10-day signing, at least from my perspective in that regard, or perhaps they’d convert two-way Lamar Stevens to a standard contract that’d be team-friendly. The former, for now, and we’ll see regarding Stevens looking onward, ended up playing out.

On Friday afternoon, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported how the Cavaliers are signing Mfiondu Kabengele to a 10-day deal.

The aforementioned Fedor reported how the Kabengele signing will be on Saturday, formally, from a 10-day timing perspective.

This Kabengele 10-day signing to come is a sensible depth move by the Cavs, and he might have some untapped potential.

Kabengele, who was waived by the Sacramento Kings shortly after being traded to them by the LA Clippers near the March 25 deadline, hasn’t had much burn thus far in his NBA tenure.

With the Clippers, he was only active in 12 games last season, and 23 games so far this season. As a rookie last season, in those said appearances, in which he played only 5.3 minutes per outing, he had averages of 3.5 points and 0.9 rebounds. In his 23 appearances with LA this season, he’s had 1.2 points per outing in just 4.1 minutes per appearance.

Needless to say, the Florida State product hasn’t had much run thus far in the league, and with Montrezl Harrell last season, and since Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka in the fold currently, that was understandable.

The young 4/5 was able to get plenty of meaningful burn with LA’s G League Affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers, though, and demonstrated some stretch big potential.

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He had 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in G League burn in 2019-20. And while the hit rate wasn’t outstanding at 32.7 percent, for a young 4/5 that was a rookie, him doing so on 6.0 attempts per game showed that he could maybe develop into a viable floor spacer.

Kabengele then hitting 81.0 percent of his free throw attempts was a positive indicator for that, too, as was Kabengele having hit 36.9 percent of his 65 three-point attempts in his sophomore season at Florida State in 2018-19.

So perhaps in some burn in spurts with Cleveland, whose banged up right now regarding Allen and Nance, we could see some catch-and-shoot/pick-and-pop flashes from Kabengele?

We’ll have to see, and it’s tough to say what kind of burn he might actually get, as Kevin Love and Dean Wade are obviously also well in the mix.

Nonetheless, this is set to be a sensible 10-day depth signing by the Cavaliers, when also considering that Kabengele did show some post-up viability in the G League and does move pretty well for a guy that’s 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. He is a capable roller/lob threat as well, and did flash some occasional driving capabilities when matched up against slower bigs, too.

And defensively, Kabengele could help the Cavs’ rebounding efforts, and while fouling is something he needs to work on moving forward, he could very well provide some rotational rim protection in potential burn.

Anyhow, while it’s uncertain if Kabengele will eventually be signed to a second 10-day deal and/or potentially be converted to a standard deal, factoring in how Allen and Nance likely being back pretty soon one would think, this is a nice move to me. That’s for the next six games at least, as Fedor stated.

Kabengele may have some untapped two-way/stretch big potential, and if the 23-year-old is given truly meaningful burn by maybe the Cavs, perhaps we could see that manifest itself in-game looking onward.

This was a two-thumbs up move to me by Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and company, and they also, per Fedor, reportedly expressed interest in Kabengele before the 2019 draft, in which they ended up drafting Dylan Windler right before.

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We’ll have to see in relation to Isaiah Hartenstein, too, for example, and Wade, just how much of a trial run Kabengele will end up having, though.