Photo credit: MattAzevedo.com
Raptors 905 knew they were unlikely to have Edy Tavares for long this season. They probably expected to get more than a game out of him.
Real Madrid of the Spanish ACB league have signed signed the reigning G-League Defensive Player of the Year to a three-year contract. The news was first reported by Marca Basket, and Raptors Republic has confirmed.
A season ago, Tavares helped lead the 905 toward a championship, anchoring one of the league’s best defenses before earning a late-season call up to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Atlanta Hawks second-round pick was waived by the Cavaliers in training camp and opted to return to the G-League player pool, a potentially huge boon for the 905. The decision seemed to indicate that proximity to the NBA and a potential call-up – Tavares would be earning a third-year player’s salary, which adds up quickly – were worth forgoing an overseas deal.
His thinking has clearly changed, and Madrid was hungry for help inside after Ognjen Kuzmic suffered a torn ACL. The opportunity to play for one of Europe’s top teams is alluring, and the 7-foot-3 center had a successful run with Gran Canaria of that same league for three seasons. He’ll be one of the more productive bigs on that side of the ocean, and if his deal contains offseason NBA outs, he could easily remain on the NBA radar at just 25.
The loss is enormous for the 905, ahead of when they expected it and on the heels of Kyle Wiltjer changing course and opting to sign in Greece before he’d played a game with the team (another short-notice deal that came about because of injury). The defending G-League champions are suddenly out two players they’d penciled in to be big parts of their frontcourt rotation, and while that’s a part of G-League life, it’s a tough way to start the season, without an immediate recourse to replace either player.
The 905 will now look to the waiver wire to fill an open roster spot and hope that the four players who missed their season opener due to injury on Sunday can suit up by Wednesday. This is a big opportunity for back-up center Andre Washington, likely means Kennedy Meeks will see more time at center, and could portend a lot of four-out basketball for a 905 team that’s now quite light on size.
PG: Lorenzo Brown, Kaza Keane
SG: Davion Berry, Aaron Best, Negus Webster-Chan
SF: Malcolm Miller, Kethan Savage, Roger Moute a Bidias
PF: Kennedy Meeks, Richard Amardi
C: Andre Washington
Alfonzo McKinnie is also currently on assignment with the 905, and he may be the only one at Hershey Centre for the home opener tomorrow, unless the Raptors opt to lend another body after this unexpected loss.