The world of NBA transactions can be a weird one. Sometimes a trade lands a team a foundational player who anchors their success for years and years; think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joining the Los Angeles Lakers, or Kevin Love winning a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Other players zip through an organization so quickly it’s like they were never there.
It’s that second category that we are going to peer into today. Which players throughout the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially joined the team, only to never actually play a single minute? WIth an honorable mention to Seth Curry, the famous little brother who played just nine minutes for the Cavs before his career later blossomed, we’re looking for players who literally didn’t play a single minute for the team.
Let’s look at nine players who passed through the Cavaliers like a whisper in the night, starting with a recent draft pick.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers had won either of their Play-In Tournament games at the end of the 2021-22 season, they would have made the playoff field and sent their first-round pick to the Indiana Pacers. Instead, they lost, landing in the lottery and keeping the pick, which landed at No. 14 in the 2022 Draft.
The Cavs used the pick on Ochai Agbaji, a wing out of Kansas that looked like an excellent fit for what they needed. Agbaji would never play a minute for the Cavaliers, nor make it to Training Camp, as two months later they sent Agbaji to Utah as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade.
The 6’5″ swingman had a perfectly fine rookie season, slowly working his way into the rotation and eventually the starting lineup as the Jazz deconstructed their roster after the Trade Deadline. He should settle in as a solid 3-and-D wing for the Jazz; the Cavs found their version in free agency this summer with Max Strus.