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Cleveland Cavaliers sign Alex Kirk: Analysis

The Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to a contract with undrafted 7’0 center Alex Kirk out of New Mexico, according to the team’s website. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent center Alex Kirk, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. Per league policy, terms of the contract were not released.

An early entry candidate, the 7-0, 245-pound center went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after appearing in 101 games (86 starts) over three seasons at the University of New Mexico. He averaged 10.0 points on .488 shooting, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 25.3 minutes per game over his collegiate career, where he was also a two-time All-MWC Defensive Team selection.

The deal is a multi-year, partially guaranteed contract, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com. My guess is that this partial guarantee is a small one for coming into camp with the team. If it’s anything larger, they’d be paying for a positional need as opposed to taking a shot on someone that can be a real, veritable, NBA player. I don’t think Kirk is that at this point.

Kirk does have some appealing attributes, mostly revolving around his ability to potentially stretch the floor at 7’0 tall. The problem with that is that he’s never shot above 28 percent from beyond the three-point arc over 139 career attempts.  Plus, his post offense isn’t particularly great. Defensively, he’s a good rim protector, but that’s all he can do. He’s not agile enough on the perimeter to defend in space, and he has a propensity to foul. In reality, there are some major limitations here that just don’t necessitate a roster spot.

However, the Cavaliers do have a need at center, and their absolute biggest need is rim protection. Because of that, I guess there actually is a greater than zero chance that he makes this roster. The team would be far better off signing someone like Emeka Okafor or Ekpe Udoh to the minimum to play 10 minutes per contest than Kirk. It’s clear they’re a fan of Kirk’s game though and see some untapped potential that he didn’t quite show while at New Mexico. Still, this probably ends up being for naught though with Kirk ending up in Canton, as he needs to improve immensely as a shooter to be valuable.

Sam Vecenie

Sam Vecenie is the editor-in-chief of Upside & Motor, as well as an editor at Hardwood Paroxysm. He likes to spend endless hours watching random NCAA game film, and scouring the internet for international basketball. You can find his other work at SBNation's college basketball platform.