WEDNESDAY, 8:51am: Former Jazz and Cavs big man Jack Cooley has reached agreement to play the remainder of the season with Unicaja Malaga of Spain, reports Adolfo Romero Arana of the Spanish outlet Solobasket. A formal signing is close, according to a HoopsHype translation, and the club is expecting Cooley to put pen to paper shortly, according to a translation from Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Unicaja Malaga chose him over former Mavs power forward Maurice Ndour, another big man the team targeted, according to Arana. Cooley signed a contract with the D-League affiliate of the Jazz last month, so he’ll have to pay a buyout of $40-50K to escape that deal, unless the D-League team waives that fee.
Cooley finished last season on the NBA roster for the Jazz, who inked him to a pair of 10-day contracts that preceded a multiyear deal. The 6’9″ power forward from Notre Dame saw action in 16 regular season games, but his playing time was sharply limited, and he posted only 1.7 points in 5.4 minutes per game. His deal didn’t include any guaranteed salary for this season, and the Jazz waived him in mid-October. The 24-year-old hooked on with the Cavs shortly thereafter as Cleveland sought a big man to compensate for Tristan Thompson‘s holdout, but Thompson’s signing shortly before opening night spelled the end for Cooley’s time in Cleveland, and the Cavs cut him before the start of the regular season.
It’s unclear whether the deal for the Pensack Sports Management Group client includes an NBA out, but the path from an overseas team to the NBA is usually more difficult than it is from the D-League to the NBA. It’ll be the second time Cooley will have played in Europe, as he spent 2013/14, his first pro season, with Trabzonspor of Turkey.