The Cleveland Cavaliers were quiet during the initial hours of NBA Free Agency. One year after re-signing center Jarrett Allen to a $100 million deal within the first five minutes of the legal tampering period, the only Cavs-related news on Day 1 of Free Agency was tangential, like the Detroit Pistons removing themselves from the Collin Sexton sweepstakes by handing Marvin Bagley 37.5 million unearned dollars.
The Cavs therefore went into Day 2 with two or three open roster spots to fill, and proceed to fill them all. They brought in veterans at center — Robin Lopez — and point guard — Raul Neto, both likely on minimum deals. Their most impactful deal of the day was the thinly-veiled secret finally brought to light: Ricky Rubio was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs signed old friend Ricky Rubio on Day 2 of NBA Free Agency. How should the acquisition be graded from all angles?
The Cavs’ largest need was at backup point guard, but they watched some of the top options go off the board early, players such as Tyus Jones and Delon Wright. That prompted us to look at some of the remaining options at point guard after Day 1. Two of those options were Raul Neto and Ricky Rubio, and we even wrote this line:
“That would make [Neto] an excellent option if the Cavs use their mid-level exception on a forward or on Ricky Rubio, who will be out to start the season.”
The Cavs agreed, and the reunion is on. Looking closely at the deal, how does it hold up? Let’s grade the new signing from all angles, including on-court fit, the contract value and the opportunity cost. Was this the right signing for the Cavs?