Ante Zizic

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.

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Nance, Smith, Lue

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue plans to have Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. share the starting center’s role depending on the matchup, according to Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon-Journal. Thompson will be the starter against teams with taller centers, while Nance will match up against smaller and quicker opponents.

“Last year it kind of wore Larry down trying to guard those big guys the whole game,” Lue said after today’s practice. “That’s a lot to ask for him to guard Dwight [Howard] and [Andre] Drummond and all those big guys, it’s not fair to him, DeAndre Jordan … I talked to those guys before camp started and kind of told them what the situation was. Larry loved it.”

Nance started 10 of the 24 games he played for the Cavs after being acquired from the Lakers at the trade deadline. He was used entirely in a reserve role during the playoffs. Thompson, formerly Cleveland’s full-time starter, appeared in just 53 games last season and started 22. He was the starter in 11 of the 19 postseason games he played.

Kevin Love, who started 48 games at center last season, will move back to power forward but will switch onto opposing centers on defense. Ante Zizic will also see time in the middle.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • A new tattoo may cost J.R. Smith some money this season if he doesn’t cover it up, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Smith has the logo of the Supreme clothing brand on the back of his right leg and reacted angrily to threatened disciplinary action from the league. “So you mean to tell me I have to cover up my tattoo for what?” he tweeted. “You don’t make people cover up Jordan logos, NIKE checks or anything else but because it’s me it’s a problem all of a sudden!!!”
  • Smith hopes his younger teammates can learn from some of the mistakes he has made in his career, Fedor writes in a separate story. Smith’s time in the NBA has been filled with questionable decisions, including a soup-throwing incident last year and a clock-related gaffe at the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “If I ain’t a lesson teacher I don’t know who is,” he said. “Obviously I’ve made tons of mistakes throughout my life on and off the court. If you can’t learn from my mistakes and listen to what I have to say, then more power to you and God bless you.”
  • Lue announced a “no tanking” policy this week, but a rough start to the season could test that philosophy, Ridenour notes in another piece.

Central Rumors: Redick, Irving, Brown, Cavs

Sixers guard J.J. Redick nearly signed with the Pacers in free agency, he revealed during a podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Redick’s comment was tweeted by Scott Agness of The Athletic. Redick stayed with Philadelphia after the Sixers improved their one-year offer to $12.25MM but that was still less than the Pacers were willing to pay. “I wouldn’t have started but I felt like I fit what they needed,” Redick said. “I just envisioned playing two-man (game) with (Domantas) Sabonis.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks’ desire to sign Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving could have a negative impact on the Bulls’ free agency plans next summer, according to an NBC Sports Chicago post. The Knicks have reportedly made Irving their No. 1 target in free agency and it’s been previously rumored that Irving and Jimmy Butler might join forces. If the Bulls wanted to bring back Butler after trading him away last summer, Irving’s potential interest in the Knicks could sidetrack that plan, the report adds.
  • One of the officers involved in the Sterling Brown arrest last January has been fired, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story passed along by NBC Sports. The Bucks swingman filed a civil lawsuit against the Milwaukee police department after he was arrested and tasered for a parking violation. The officer was fired for violating social media policy and not for his conduct the night of Brown’s arrest, the city’s police chief told the Journal Sentinel.
  • The Cavaliers could be more interesting and successful without LeBron James than many people expect, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. The development of first-round pick Collin SextonAnte Zizic and Cedi Osman will be intriguing to watch and GM Koby Altman will likely make more moves during the season to reshape the team’s future, Pluto continues. Trading J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, who have seemed disinterested during the regular season during the James era, would move the process along, Pluto adds.