Former Cavaliers power forward Samardo Samuels has signed with Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem, David Pick of Eurobasket reports. The move had appeared close since earlier this week. Samardo's deal will cover two months and pay him $50K, excluding any extra cash he may earn with the team in postseason play. That pales in comparison to the $356,833 worth of prorated minimum salary he garnered for a partial season in the NBA with Cleveland this year.
The Cavs waived Samuels in January, right before his contract would have become fully guaranteed for the season. He was in the third year of a deal he signed with the team after going undrafted out of Louisville in 2010. Samuels averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game for Cleveland this year, a decline from the 7.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG he put up in 18.9 minutes per contest as a rookie. Despite interest from the Nets and Thunder, and later the Grizzlies, Samuels signed in the D-League shortly after his release from the Cavs and notched 19.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 32 games for the Reno Bighorns.
Hapoel Jerusalem had Craig Smith, another ex-NBA power forward, on its roster until he experienced a falling out with head coach Sharon Drucker, prompting the team to cut Smith loose in March. Among the other players the team considered before deciding on Samuels were Othello Hunter, who spent parts of two seasons with the Hawks in 2008/09 and 2009/10, and Rick Jackson, who was in camp this past fall with the Warriors.