The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without Ante Zizic who is leaving to play for Real Madrid.
Ante Zizic is leaving the NBA to go play in Europe as a member of Real Madrid‘s basketball team. The current home of former NBA star Rudy Fernandez and the franchise that saw Luka Doncic rise to an elite level prospect will now play home for the former Cleveland Cavaliers center, Zizic.
Zizic ties to Cleveland stem from the Kyrie Irving trade, a trade that will be looked at on another day, but since Zizic’s arrival in Cleveland, the big man from Croatia hasn’t done anything worth remembering. Zizic was constantly struggling to find time on the court and when he was on the court, he didn’t make a huge impact.
The 2018-2019 season was his best, where he averaged just shy of 8.0 points a game, with nearly 5.5 rebounds. Not bad, but not something to write home about considering the team’s overall record. His PER 36 adjusted stats shows that he could be a double-double machine but having to play behind Tristan Thompson and then Andre Drummond, it was clear that Zizic wasn’t going to be given a chance to showcase what talent he had.
The Cavs have already prepped for Zizic’s decesion by acquiring former Golden State big man Jordan Bell, a comparable player to Zizic.
Zizzi’s departure won’t hurt the Cavs much. It’s obvious the team has a direction and goal in mind that they want to achieve. They didn’t go get Drummond because they thought Zizic was about to become the Nikola Jokic of the Eastern Conference. They got Drummond because they didn’t see any of their current centers on the same level as the former Detroit Piston’s big man.
The lack of effort to keep Zizic might also be a sign that recent rumors about the Cavs not looking at a guard in the upcoming NBA Draft is true, possibly hinting at the Cavs taking a rookie-big in the yearly amateur selection process.
Zizic might’ve been something interesting, assuming he had gotten the minutes but now we’ll never know what he could’ve done with the Cavaliers. At least for now. There’s nothing that says Zizic won’t return to the NBA in time if he raises his value while in Europe. If he can become the new face of Real Madrid, he might be a highly sought after free agent when his deal expires.
Only time will tell.