Cavs sign vet 5 Robin Lopez to one-year deal for capable insurance

Robin Lopez, Orlando Magic. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Robin Lopez, Orlando Magic. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images /

Earlier on Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly signed Ricky Rubio to a three-year, $18.4 million deal, with the third year partially-guaranteed. That deal could still possibly be a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers, the club Cleveland traded Rubio’s previously-expiring contract to during last deadline in a deal centered on Caris LeVert, as an aside.

In the mean time, while it had long been rumored that there could be a reunion with the Cavaliers and Rubio, Cleveland agreed to terms with big Robin Lopez on a one-year deal. That was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Friday afternoon. Per a report from Chris Fedor of, the Lopez deal is for the veteran’s minimum.

This Lopez signing by the Cavs provides them playable center insurance, if needed, and Lopez could be viable for rotational stretches.

The Lopez signing, which can’t be official until July 6 like all verbal commitments, is probably not one that Cavaliers fans are overjoyed about, but I’m a fan of it. As our own Josh Cornelissen alluded to, Lopez is a player that can be a viable, essentially third 5 option when needed behind Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, who will get some time at backup 5.

Getting Lopez on a veteran’s minimum deal is a nice move. Heading into his 15th season with his ninth team, he’s not going to be getting a ton of time, nor in the rotation on a night-to-night basis, but he can this team on the interior when called upon.

The 7-foot Lopez was not a rotational regular last season, necessarily, with the Orlando Magic, given that the Magic were firmly in the tank and were playing young guys. When he was in there, Lopez had 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per contest, albeit in only 36 appearances.

The year prior, Lopez was far more of a factor in the rotation for the Washington Wizards, and had 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest, in 19.1 minutes and in 71 appearances. He was decent in reserve stretches in the previous season with the Milwaukee Bucks, but in a smaller role, and was a nice piece for the Chicago Bulls for three seasons.

Lopez is not a stretch big, however, he’s a more than capable roller, screener, and he’s adept at low-post scoring, and is deadly with his hook shots. That sort of thing could help the Cavaliers when he’s in, regardless of minutes inconsistency.

Defensively, the dude is not the quickest, but he does a solid job of playing with high hands to alter shots in spurts, and he can help anchor the defense a bit in games in non-Allen minutes, feasibly with Mobley or Kevin Love at the 4 in those instances. Additionally, Lopez is a quality rebounder defensively, of which Cleveland should benefit from when he’s in.

And lastly, while Lopez, who will be in his age-34 season in 2022-23, is not a player that’s going to have a significant role normally, he’s always been a great locker room guy. The young players on the Cavaliers, such as Mobley and Darius Garland, will love the dude, as well as the older vets. Him having some playoff experience should be a plus, too.

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It should be interesting to see what the Cavs get out of Lopez, who should provide center insurance if needed.