3 bargain veteran free agents that could help Cavs shooting efforts

Terrence Ross, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Terrence Ross, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Yuta Watanabe, Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Bargain Vet No. 2: Yuta Watanabe

Yuta Watanabe is a rumored possible target for Cleveland this offseason, and over the years, he has steadily progressed into being a quality rotational shooter.

It took Watanabe a while before he eventually had a role for the Raptors, his second NBA club. Watanabe began his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies, with 15 appearances in the 2018-19 season, followed by 18 appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. In both of those seasons, he was on a two-way deal.

In the two ensuing years with Toronto, though, he began to establish himself, had his two-way deal converted to a standard one in April of 2021, and in his 88 regular season outings with the Raptors over those seasons, knocked in 37.3 percent of his three-point attempts. The volume was 1.9 attempts per game, which was not a ton, but his shooting form is much improved, along with his release time, since he first came into the league.

In the 2022-23 campaign with the Brooklyn Nets, who he signed with last offseason, he continued to take the shooting a step further. He hit a career-best 44.4 percent of his looks from downtown in 16.0 minutes per appearance, in 58 contests. Watanabe had 5.6 points per game during this now-past season with Brooklyn.

For Cleveland, Watanabe is a sensible offseason target, given his shooting strides over recent seasons, and he could be a viable catch-and-shoot player to play off of the Cavs’ stars, both in set offense and in transition.

While he doesn’t have the experience of Ross, the 6-foot-8 Watanabe has shown steady growth as he’s had more rotational opportunities, and appears to be an upward trajectory.

With those things in mind, the Cavs potentially signing the 28-year-old to a veteran’s minimum deal or maybe a one or two-year deal for the roughly $4.4 Bi-Annual Exception could be a move that’d paid off, if Cleveland sells him on the role.