Ante Zizic

Maccabi Tel Aviv Announces Signing Of Ante Zizic

Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv has announced the signing of veteran center Ante Zizic, indicating in a press release that he has agreed to a two-year contract with the club.

Zizic, who has spent the last three seasons with the Cavaliers, was on track to become an unrestricted free agent in October. His new deal has been confirmed by agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link).

It’s a little unusual to see a player sign with an international team before his NBA contract technically expires, but the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic presumably played a part in Zizic’s early exit from Cleveland. The 2020/21 season in several European leagues is on track to get underway this fall before the NBA’s offseason begins.

[RELATED: NBPA Preparing For Possible Delay Of Free Agency Start Date]

Zizic, a 2016 first-round pick who was acquired by Cleveland in the 2017 blockbuster that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston, didn’t make a major impact in 113 games over three seasons for the Cavaliers, 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, but should take on a more substantial role with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Reports earlier this summer suggested that Zizic appeared likely to join Spanish team Real Madrid for the ’20/21 season, but the two sides never finalized a deal, and the 23-year-old shifted his focus to Maccabi Tel Aviv earlier in August.

The move represents a return to Europe for Zizic, who spent time with clubs in Croatia and Turkey from 2013-17.

Ante Zizic Now On Track For Deal With Maccabi Tel Aviv?

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.

Ante Zizic Eyeing Move To Real Madrid?

Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is entering free agency this fall on an expiring contract that technically won’t expire until mid-October. However, it sounds as if Zizic may already be in the process of lining up his next contract.

According to a pair of reports – one from Chema de Lucas (Twitter link) and another from Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops – Zizic is expected to sign with Real Madrid in Spain. Varlas writes that Zizic has received a verbal commitment from the Spanish club and will sign a multiyear deal once his contract with the Cavs formally expires.

It’ll be some time before Zizic can officially sign with Real Madrid or any other team, but it won’t be a major surprise if he does head back overseas. His contributions in 113 games for Cleveland were modest, as he averaged 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, and would be unlikely to generate significant NBA interest in free agency.

While Zizic has never played in Spain, he’ll be returning to the EuroLeague if he finalizes a deal with Real Madrid. After being selected 23rd overall in the 2016 draft by the Celtics, Zizic spent the ’16/17 season with Darussafaka in Turkey before making the move stateside.

International Notes: Zizic, EuroLeague, Schroder, Sirvydis

Maccabi Tel Aviv is interested in signing Cavaliers center Ante Zizic next season, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Zizic will be a free agent after Cleveland declined his fourth-year option in October.

Zizic got into just 22 games this year, averaging 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 10 minutes per night. The 23-year-old center is in his third season with the Cavs after being acquired from Boston in the Kyrie Irving deal.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Most EuroLeague players are against resuming the season, tweets Greek basketball writer George Zakkas. A conference call was held yesterday in which players expressed their concerns about the coronavirus and the risk of injury if the season were to start again. The players were unanimous in their stance, which surprised league officials, according to Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The 11 A-licensed EuroLeague teams will vote tomorrow morning on whether the season will resume. Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia has heard that four teams seem to be in favor of restarting, while five clubs are against it (Twitter link).
  • The BBL in Germany has released its schedule for a 10-team tournament to crown a league champion, Borghesan writes in a separate piece. The opening game is set for June 6 with the finals on June 26 and 28.
  • Thunder guard Dennis Schroder will become the sole owner of his hometown team in Braunschweig, Germany, on July 1, Skerletic notes in a separate story. “I am very happy to be the sole shareholder of the Lions.” Schroder said. “… I want to give something back to the region. I am convinced that we can develop the team further and make it a top club in the league.”
  • Pistons draft-and-stash player Deividas Sirvydis has agreed to a long-term deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, Carchia writes. Detroit selected the 19-year-old forward in the second round last year.
  • Former NBA center Tarik Black has left Maccabi Tel Aviv, Lupo relays.

Three-Week Minimum Anticipated For Training Camp

Commissioner Adam Silver believes a three-to-six week ramp-up period would be needed in order to resume the season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Silver was asked about the length of training camp during a conference call with players on Friday. A minimum of three weeks has been discussed around the league, Silver replied, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

With Silver indicating that no decision regarding the resumption of the season needed to made this month, that would suggest that play would resume no earlier than July.

The league is taking baby steps toward getting players back into training facilities. The NBA has given the go-ahead for teams to allow players back into their usual facilities under heavy restrictions. Only the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers were able or willing to unlock their facilities on Friday, displaying the cautious approach many franchises and players have adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic showed up at the Cavaliers’ practice facility. Nance spent approximately 90 minutes taking shots and doing weight work, while the others spend their time at separate baskets. All the players were subject to temperature checks before being allowed in the facility.

“They did a really good job of making sure we all felt great about being there,” Nance told Stein. “They could make it at 4 in the morning and I would be there.”

Other players around the league don’t share Nance’s enthusiasm. During the conference call with Silver, Thunder guard and Players Association president Chris Paul expressed the concerns of some players that they felt pressure to work out at their teams’ facilities, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Silver reiterated that the workouts are optional and advised Paul to follow up with the league if any players had issues with their respective teams during the reopening of the facilities.

Injury Updates: R. Jackson, Hachimura, Wagner, R. Williams

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson hopes to play tonight after being sidelined since the second game of the season with a back injury, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson is officially listed as questionable for the game against the Kings. He’ll be on a minutes restriction and isn’t sure if he’ll be used as a starter or a reserve (Twitter link).

“I don’t know how well I’m going to feel. Adrenaline is a different thing so I imagine I’ll probably be winded a little early,” Jackson said (Twitter link).

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura has been cleared for all basketball activities, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters, including Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury December 16. “It’ll be great to have him back before the All-Star break, but you never know,” Brooks said (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards also got good news on Moritz Wagner, who has been cleared for non-contact activities after a check-up in New York City, Buckner tweets. Wagner has missed the past month with a sprained left ankle.
  • Injured Celtics center Robert Williams was able to do some running Tuesday and is set for another scan and evaluation February 4, the team tweeted. Team doctors expect to have a more concrete idea of when he can start playing again after that session. Williams has a bone edema in his left hip and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic is out indefinitely, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He has been diagnosed with a vestibular condition that has forced him to miss the past five games.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters that among his injured rotation players, Gary Harris is the closest to returning, relays Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). “When I say closest, I don’t know how close that is,” Malone explained.Paul (Millsap) and Jamal (Murray) are still a ways off.”

Eastern Notes: Sabonis, Brown, Zizic, Hutchison, Morris, Rose

The Hawks were interested in making runs next summer at Pacers power forward Domantas Sabonis and Celtics forward Jaylen Brown if they had become restricted free agents, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Atlanta is one of four teams, along with Charlotte, Cleveland and Memphis, that will have significant cap space in the offseason and thus could have put together a big offer sheet for either player. Sabonis signed a four-year, $74.9MM extension with the Pacers while Brown inked a four-year, $115MM deal with Boston.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • There’s a strong possibility the Cavaliers will try to bring back center Ante Zizic next summer even though they declined their fourth-year option on him, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The Cavs can only offer Zizic a max of $3.87MM as a starting salary after declining the option. Zizic has been sidelined since the preseason with a foot injury.
  • Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison had hoped to return to action on Friday but he’ll be sidelined a little longer, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays. Hutchison has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury. “Hutch is still working his way through. Don’t have anything new to report on that. We’ll see how that plays out,” coach Jim Boylen said. Hutchison spent the week practicing with their G League affiliate and pronounced himself ready to go on Thursday, the Windy City Bulls, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago notes.
  • Knicks forward Marcus Morris was disappointed the Celtics didn’t show interest in re-signing him during free agency, Jay King of The Athletic reports. Morris wound up in New York on a one-year deal after backing out on a verbal agreement with San Antonio. “I thought it was a great possibility of me coming back here,” Morris said. “So, by me not even getting that opportunity or getting that chance to have that, I refuse to do anything with Boston.”
  • Derrick Rose signed a two-year, $15MM contract with the Pistons and he’s thrilled with his choice, Keith Langlois of the team’s website writes. Rose has gotten off to a strong start and he’s happy with the organization. “I feel great,” he said. “Even making the decision to come here. Every day that we’re in Detroit, my family is happy being there. I’m happy being there. You hear things from afar, you don’t know what to expect. But everything’s been up and up.”

Cavs Won’t Exercise Ante Zizic’s 2020/21 Option

The Cavaliers won’t be picking up their 2020/21 option on Ante Zizic‘s rookie scale contract, league sources tell Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). The option would have been worth $3,872,215.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2020/21 Rookie Scale Team Options]

If Cleveland had exercised that fourth-year option, it would have put Zizic on track to become eligible for an extension during the 2020 offseason and restricted free agency during the summer of 2021.

Instead, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next July. Assuming he finishes the season with the Cavs, they’ll be ineligible to offer him a starting salary higher than $3,872,215 on a new contract.

Zizic, 22, was part of the trade package that the Cavaliers received from the Celtics for Kyrie Irving during the summer of 2017. However, his contributions in Cleveland through two years have been modest. In 91 games, he averaged 6.4 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 14.2 minutes per contest. He has yet to make his 2019/20 debut due to a left foot injury.

Zizic, who is now on an expiring contract, has a $2,281,800 cap hit for the 2019/20 season.

Cavs’ Ante Zizic Out Four Weeks With Foot Injury

Cavaliers center Ante Zizic will be unavailable for the start of the season due to a left foot injury, the club announced today in a press release.

According to the Cavs, Zizic – who missed all four preseason games due to foot pain and discomfort – underwent further testing and has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The team estimates that he’ll be sidelined for approximately the next four weeks as he goes through a treatment and rehab process.

If Zizic misses exactly four weeks of action, he’ll be on the shelf for Cleveland’s first 11 games and could potentially get back on the court vs. the Sixers on November 17.

The Cavs have plenty of options at center in Zizic’s absence. Tristan Thompson will see regular minutes and John Henson could too, assuming his groin injury doesn’t sideline him. Kevin Love and Larry Nance can also play at the five in certain lineups.

Cavs Pick Up 2019/20 Option On Ante Zizic

The Cavaliers have exercised their third-year option on center Ante Zizic, a source tells Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The team had until October 31 to pick up the option, which guarantees Zizic’s salary for the 2019/20 season.

Zizic, 21, was one of the players acquired by Cleveland in last year’s Kyrie Irving blockbuster. The Croatian big man didn’t see much action in his rookie season, but could be in line for a larger role in 2018/19, particularly if the Cavaliers go into full-fledged rebuild mode. So far this season, Zizic has posted 3.4 PPG and 2.0 RPG in five games (7.2 MPG).

With veteran players occupying many of the roster spots in Cleveland, Zizic’s was the only rookie scale option decision the Cavs had to make by this fall’s deadline. The move will add another $2,281,800 in guaranteed money to the club’s books for next season.

Cleveland will have one more option decision to make on Zizic by October 31, 2019. Assuming the team exercises his fourth-year option for 2020/21 before that deadline, the young center will become extension-eligible during the summer of 2020 and would be on track for restricted free agency in 2021.

We’re keeping tabs on all of the 2019/20 rookie scale option decisions from around the NBA right here.