A return to Europe appears to be in the cards for Cavaliers center Ante Zizic, whose rookie contract is expiring this October after the team turned down his fourth-year option for 2020/21 last fall.
Reports earlier this summer suggested that Zizic appeared likely to join Spanish team Real Madrid for the ’20/21 season, but the two sides couldn’t officially finalize a deal as long as the big man remained under contract with the Cavs.
Now, it looks as if another EuroLeague team is the frontrunner for Zizic. According to journalist Moses Barda (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando), Zizic has tentatively agreed to terms on a two-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Israeli club was a top-five EuroLeague squad last season at 19-9, finishing just a few games behind second-place Real Madrid (22-6).
Zizic, who was acquired by Cleveland in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, didn’t make a major impact in 113 games over three seasons for the Cavs, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 13.4 minutes per contest. The Croatian native played just 10.0 MPG in 22 contests in 2019/20 for the Cavs, so it makes some sense that he’d explore a return to Europe, where he’d have a much larger role. He played for Turkey’s Darussafaka before making the move to the NBA.
Despite the latest report of a contract agreement, Zizic technically remains under Cleveland’s control. Until he and the Cavs formally sever ties and he signs a contract with a new team, it’s possible his outlook for next season will change.