Cavs make sensible signing in Raul Neto via one-year deal

On Day 2 of free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers had so far made two veteran signings earlier on involving Ricky Rubio and Robin Lopez, of which you can view more reported details here and also here.

With Rubio, that was for three years and $18.4 million; the third year is partially-guaranteed. It is a reported possibility that the Cavaliers could structure that into a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers, which seems to be a high likelihood roster-numbers wise to accommodate Collin Sexton.

Sexton is currently a restricted free agent, and if Cleveland were to involve Dylan Windler or Cedi Osman as part of a sign-and-trad package, that’d be a wise move. Agreed-on deals aren’t official until July 6, for what it’s worth.

That’s factored in, involving roster numbers, with how the Cavaliers made another veteran signing on Friday in Raul Neto, who should help Cleveland stay afloat as Rubio continues to rehab from a torn ACL. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the news on Neto, and Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported how it’s via one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

In the case with Neto, he was a rumored potential reserve point guard target for the Cavaliers, and as noted, he should help Cleveland until Rubio returns, and could help in spot minutes otherwise.

The Cavs made a sensible signing here in Neto, who is a nice ball-mover, and can help the team on defense.

Neto is not a splashy signing by any means, clearly, as he’s bounced around, to some degree of late, and in his career with the Utah Jazz, had sporadic time when he was in there over his first four seasons.

He did a nice job when he was in, for the most part, though, as a depth lead guard, and diddo for his lone season with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his season with the Sixers in 2019-20, he had 5.1 points and 1.8 assists per contest, for context.

And in the past two seasons with the Washington Wizards, Neto had more opportunities in rotational minutes, and with them had 8.1 points and 2.7 assists per contest, in what was an average of 20.7 minutes.

He’s had 4.8 assists per-36 minutes for his career, to 2.2 turnovers. Neto, who will be in his age-30 season with Cleveland next year, is a player that can get guys quality looks, which should pay off for the likes of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, for example, and/or Collin Sexton, if he’s back.

The 6-foot Neto is not a guy I’d expect to be getting a ton of work in with Darius Garland, but in some matchups, that could suffice. As we touched on, Neto should help Cleveland particularly in the first few months of the season, feasibly, sans Rubio.

And the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Neto is a solid defender against initiating guards, last but not least, which is a plus for the Cavaliers here via team minimum deal.

He does have great defensive playmaking instincts on-ball and can help the team can get out and run with his presence in passing lanes off-ball, which shouldn’t be glossed over. To that point, Neto’s career steal rate is 2.1, which is nothing to sneeze at, nor are his 1.5 steals-per 36.

In any case, as we touched on, we’ll again be on the lookout for what’s to come involving Sexton’s outlook, the potential for the Rubio deal to be a sign-and-trade, roster-numbers wise, and it’s just seemingly a matter of time before Darius Garland’s rookie scale max extension comes. For now, with Sexton involved too, Cleveland have 16 rostered players, so a corresponding move would seem imminent.

The Neto signing earlier was a nice call, anyhow, and while I’m not suggesting it’d be on high volume or anything, he can provide some catch-and-shoot play. A career 36.6 percent three-point hit rate, via catch-and-shoots mostly, is decent, given the role inconsistencies; granted, this past season he shot a career-worst 29.2 percent from deep.

For depth, either way, this wasn’t a bad move.