As the Cleveland Cavaliers currently exist, they have 12 guaranteed roster spots filled and one non-guaranteed player (Sam Merrill). NBA rosters can have a total of 15 players and three two-way players. Unless Cleveland waives Merrill, that leaves the Cavs with two final spots to fill before the season if they find the right guys for the job.
With injuries and other issues that could plague Cleveland at any moment, finding another player or two would set the Cavs up with a safety net going into the season.
After bringing in Max Strus and Georges Niang, Cleveland’s starting small forward and backup power forward positions are filled. Ty Jerome will be competing with Ricky Rubio for bench guard minutes, and Damian Jones will occasionally fill in for Jarrett Allen when the Fro needs to rest.
Those four new Cavs join Caris LeVert, Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro as guaranteed bench players for the Cavaliers. If the Cavaliers continue searching for free agency additions, these players will not be likely to secure consistent minutes every night with a seemingly complete nine or 10-man rotation already prepared in Cleveland.
Finding players who can provide a special talent or could develop into a guaranteed role player in the future would be the ideal situation for the final roster spots. They would serve a role similar to Sam Merrill’s – there when needed, but not going to be depended on too often.
These three players are specialized talents that could provide for the Cavaliers in those final roster spots.
Craig Porter Jr. deserves to be called up for the Cavs.
What does NBA Summer League tell the world about a player’s talent or potential? Very little.
When you see a player who is dominating in Summer League, though, it can showcase their ideal role if they are given the chance to influence a legitimate NBA team. As for Craig Porter Jr., he has been an exciting young guard who went undrafted in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Entering the draft, Porter was a possible second-round pick, per Sports Illustrated. Though every team passed on him, he did not give up and is using the Summer League as a chance to prove himself. Prove himself he has thus far.
The athletic point guard has averaged 13 points in Cleveland’s first four Summer League games. CPJ has also dished the ball to his teammates, racking up 4.3 assists in his 23.3 minutes per game.
His innate talent to orchestrate a dynamic offense could translate to the Association for Cleveland fast. Though Porter would compete against both Jerome and Rubio for minutes, his unique skill set could put him into specialized lineups in critical matchups.
Luckily for the Cavs, they do not need to decide on CPJ’s role immediately. He is one of Cleveland’s three players on a two-way contract, meaning he can play with the main roster for a decent bit of time before a final decision needs to be made.
The Cavaliers are no stranger to signing undrafted prospects to a full deal after time in the G-League, either. Both Dean Wade and Sam Merrill spent the majority of last season proving themselves to the Cavaliers’ front office. Perhaps Porter Jr. will be able to do the same.
The next free agent has a lot to prove by next offseason even after winning an NBA title this year.