July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Sims, Dellavedova will likely be on roster


Rick Noland

The Gazette

INDEPENDENCE — It looks like big man Henry Sims and Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova will be on the Cavaliers’ roster when they open the season Wednesday against Brooklyn at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs on Friday waived center DeSagana Diop, forward Kenny Kadji and guards Jermaine Taylor and Elliot Williams to get down to the NBA limit of 15 players.

Cleveland could still pick up a player waived by another team, but that’s unlikely. Final opening-night rosters must be submitted to the league by 5 p.m. Monday.

Sims and Dellavedova not only survived the final cut, they’ll likely be on the active roster for the opener against the Nets.

“More than anything, both those guys have really shown the ability to push the people in front of them,” coach Mike Brown said following a light practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts.

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Sims averaged 6.1 points on .588 shooting from the field and 5.1 rebounds in the preseason. He was very solid when it came to hitting 16-foot jumpers from the elbow and also displayed an ability to defend inside.

Undrafted out of Georgetown in 2012, the 23-year-old played in two games for New Orleans last season, but spent the majority of his time in the NBA Developmental League.

“He’s shown the ability to defend, especially on the post,” Brown said. “He also showed the ability to shoot the basketball.”

The 6-4, 190-pound Dellavedova played four seasons at St. Mary’s. Though he went undrafted, he received a small amount of guaranteed money from the Cavs, who had him on their summer league team.

Dellavedova, a strong and rugged player who isn’t overly athletic, averaged 3.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists in the preseason.

“ ‘Deli’ just brings a toughness,” Brown said. “Even though he’s a rookie, he brings a veteran feel to the ballclub.”

The two toughest cuts were Kadji, an undrafted rookie power forward who played four years at the University of Miami (Fla.), and Taylor, a shooting guard from Central Florida who played four games with the Houston Rockets in 2009-10 and a combined four with Houston and Sacramento the following season.

If Kadji is not picked up by another team, the Cavs can assign him to their D-League team, the Canton Charge. They don’t hold Taylor’s rights because he played in the D-League last season.

The 6-10, 242-pound Kadji looked good at times in the preseason and will likely play in the NBA at some point, but he’s basically a “stretch four.”

With Andrew Bynum recovering from knee surgery and Tyler Zeller still not 100 percent after undergoing an appendectomy, Sims got the nod not only because he played well, but also because he’s a more legitimate center by NBA standards.

Kadji played in seven preseason games and averaged 5.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.4 minutes, while the 6-5, 205-pound Taylor also played in seven games and averaged 5.7 points.

The 26-year-old Taylor showed he could get to the basket and was a willing defender, but the Cavs went with Dellavedova because they wanted a third point guard behind Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack.

The 7-foot, 280-pound Diop, drafted out of Oak Hill Academy by the Cavs with the No. 8 pick in 2001, was brought to camp as an insurance policy in the middle, but it quickly became clear he never had a chance of sticking. A 12-year veteran, the likable Senegal native played in just three preseason games.

The 6-5, 180-pound Williams, who played his college ball at Memphis, was drafted by Portland with the No. 22 pick in 2010, but has battled injuries throughout his career. He played in six exhibition games and averaged 2.5 points.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.