When it was reported on Saturday evening from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Ty Jerome to a two-year, $5 million deal, there was not nearly the same buzz as other Cavs moves. Cleveland’s acquisition of Max Strus via sign-and-trade and signing of Georges Niang have been the two significant moves for Cleveland thus far in the offseason, and they’ve drawn their share of reactions.
As for the Jerome signing, though, it might go on to be what’s considered a savvy move by the Cavaliers. One might point to the Golden State Warriors having no plans to match Cleveland’s offer, per a report from Anthony Slater of The Athletic, after Golden State did extend Jerome a minimum qualifying offer last week to make a restricted free agent, being concerning.
That said, this could end up being a nice value signing for Cleveland, and one shouldn’t read a ton into Golden State’s decision there after their Chris Paul trade acquisition.
Jerome is a player who could play rotational minutes at the 1 and 2 for stretches, and while he’s not a traditional lead guard, he could definitely play there, even early on next season.
Whether or not he does do so then, it was sensible for Cleveland to sign more of an offensive threat than Raul Neto for what would be another lead guard option this offseason, considering Ricky Rubio’s struggles last season coming off his ACL injury.
With Jerome being more viable offensively than Neto, that could be a selling point for him for early minutes, even with feasibly Rubio in the fold, too. Plus, Jerome is solid defensively in his own right, and with that being the case as well, early looks could be in-store for him.
Jerome could be primed for early-season opportunities with the Cavs.
When he’s had the opportunities, Jerome has shown he can help his teams, despite being on three NBA teams already in his four seasons.
Last season, he had 6.9 points and 3.0 assists in 18.1 minutes per game with the Golden State Warriors, and in the two seasons prior with the Oklahoma City Thunder, posted 8.6 points and 2.8 assists in 19.6 minutes per outing.
Jerome is more so a combo guard, which is something to keep in mind as opposed to Rubio, but Jerome could be a viable ball-mover or table setter in times with Darius Garland getting a breather, and generally, does make sound decisions to help offensive flow.
What’s apparent as well, is Jerome is a much better shooter than Rubio, and while one has to read into Rubio’s shooting splits last season with a grain of salt, coming off his injury, it’s fair to question Rubio’s scoring capabilities at this stage.
Either way, if Jerome were to have early chances, he’s a player who can create for himself in stretches some off the bounce with pull-ups inside the arc, with floaters and in pick-and-roll, and he’s not a player opponents can regularly leave open.
Jerome didn’t necessarily show it in the 2021-22 season with OKC, as he connected on only 29.0 percent of his threes, but he did hit 38.9 percent of his deep attempts with Golden State in 2022-23. At minimum, he can help space the floor in meaningful minutes when Garland and Donovan Mitchell are staggered, and with combo guard qualities, Jerome can make plays for himself and others off of hard closeouts, which is an underappreciated skill.
So, although this minimum deal wasn’t going to make waves, with his offensive skill set, and being a solid defender on the perimeter, Jerome could seemingly be in line for early-season opportunities. Realistically, if that were to play out, while one shouldn’t count out his playmaking yet, Rubio might be the odd guard option out in the near future.
Either way, that Jerome signing was an intriguing one by Cleveland. Even with him on a two-way deal last season, the soon-to-be 26-year-old has made some things happen when given regular rotational chances in his career thus far. If he can establish a rhythm, he could be another impactful shooter.