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Cleveland Cavaliers to sign free agent Jordan Bell, convert two-way contract of Dean Wade to multi-year deal

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers made a pair of moves before Tuesday night’s deadline, bringing their NBA roster to a maximum of 15 players.

League sources tell cleveland.com the Cavaliers agreed to a two-year contract with free agent forward Jordan Bell and converted the two-way pact of forward Dean Wade into a multi-year deal.

Wade, who originally signed a two-way with the Cavaliers after going undrafted out of Kansas State in 2019, will fill one of the two open roster spots. Bell, a 2017 second-round pick who spent his first few seasons with the Golden State Warriors before signing in Minnesota as a restricted free agent in 2019 and then finishing the 2019-20 campaign in Memphis, will take the other.

A versatile 6-foot-10 big, Wade played 12 games in Cleveland, averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds. He spent most of the year with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate. With Canton, Wade averaged 14.2 points on 46.1% from the field and 39.9% from 3-point range to go with 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 blocks.

Bell averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.8 minutes this past season, splitting his time between Minnesota and Memphis.

Sources say Wade, who was garnering interest from the Washington Wizards over the last few weeks, will receive a team-friendly four-year contract that pays him $375,000 for the rest of the 2019-20 season. The final three years, starting in 2020-21, are non-guaranteed. The fourth year is a team option. According to sources, Bell will get $250,000 for the rest of 2019-20. His second year is non-guaranteed.

The Cavs entered the NBA’s transaction period, which officially reopened on Tuesday, about $980,000 below the luxury tax. They did not cross that threshold with the two signings, sources say.

Since the season ended, the Cavs have considered a number of possibilities. With limited salary cap space — and a desire to avoid the tax — they couldn’t claim Theo Pinson or Allonzo Trier. While they revisited a deal with Trier after he cleared waivers, the former Knicks guard was looking for more money and a different contract structure than the Cavs were willing to give. Members of the front office also questioned his fit alongside young guards Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and Collin Sexton.

The Cavs also scoured G League rosters. They considered former Xavier star Trevon Bluiett, a 25-year-old guard who averaged 14.9 points with the Salt Lake City Stars this season. Shooting guard DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell got a look, but he played for assistant general manager Mike Gansey’s brother in Fort Wayne a few years back and the intel wasn’t overly appealing. Forward Justin Patton, a former first-round pick, was in the mix before he signed with the Detroit Pistons. The Cavs also explored the possibility of signing 22-year-old power forward/center Donta Hall, selected to the G League All-Rookie team after averaging a double-double.

But they didn’t like their options, especially at wing — a position of need based on their roster makeup. So, the Cavs chose to reward Wade with a multi-year deal on Monday morning while taking a shot on castoff Bell, who was waived by Memphis nearly four months ago, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic.

Because Bell was waived after March 1, only the eight teams not participating in Orlando were eligible to sign him.

Cleveland executives believe both have a shot at making the team in 2020-21, with Bell filling the role of an athletic undersized 5, capable of logging minutes alongside Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr.

Converting Wade’s two-way contract allowed the Cavs to create one of those slots. However, only teams going to Orlando for the NBA’s restart are able to sign two-way players at this time.

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