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Remembering forgotten Cleveland Cavaliers: overseas edition

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There are a lot of players who have donned the wine and gold without much success. However, that has usually meant that they can find a home abroad.

Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

All this week at Fear the Sword, we’re remembering players who have been forgotten in Cleveland Cavaliers history. On Monday, Chris Manning covered Luke Jackson. Yesterday, Zack Geoghegan wrote about J.J. Hickson. Here’s the second of five.

Since the 2007-08 NBA season, 111 players have suited up in the wine and gold for the Cleveland Cavaliers. One has been LeBron James, which is awesome. Some have been really good. Some have been pretty good, but maybe not at the level of the ones who have been really good. Others have been bad. Actually, a lot of them have been bad. Particularly, during the stretch from 2011-2014, when the Cavs played without LeBron James, there were a lot of players in Cavs uniforms, and few of them were actually good. You might not remember many of the players in that group, save a couple that you found particularly endearing (I still love you, Omri Casspi!).

However, that group of bad players has found a weird niche. Most of them aren’t in the NBA anymore, and that’s justifiable. I mean, we all watched those 2010-2011 to 2013-2014 Cavs teams, after all. But, that hasn’t meant that their basketball careers have ended. Numerous former Cavs have washed out of the league, and then found a nice landing spot playing internationally. Whether it be in Spain, France, Italy, China, or Israel, former Cavs have a heavy influence on international basketball. Our theme week so far has celebrated the random favorites of our staff, and since I’m the international basketball nut, I wanted to shout out all of the former Cavs making a mark in the European game. Hopefully you get a surprise that your favorite random Cav is #StillintheLeague. Maybe not the main basketball league, but *a* basketball league.

Demetris Nichols

Cavs tenure: 2007-08

Current team: Cedevita Zagreb

Nichols was a fringe NBA player for two years, including a three game stint on the ‘08 Cavs. Since he left the NBA in 2009, he’s been a European regular, spending time with CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos at the Euroleague level over the past three years. He will enter his age 33 season playing for Cedevita in Croatia as a wily veteran forward.

Tarence Kinsey

Cavs tenure: 2008-09

Current Team: Hapoel Jerusalem

Kinsey spent 50 games on the ‘09 Cavs, barely cracking two points per game . But in Europe, he’s been solid. He averaged 10.8 points per game for Hapoel Jerusalem last season, complimenting Amar’e Stoudemire on a Eurocup Final Four team.

Darnell Jackson

Cavs tenure: 2007-09

Current Team: Rosa Radom

The former national champion with Kansas is still finding work in Poland, where he averaged 11.4 points per game last year. He’s yet another first LeBron tenure backup who’s lingered on through the years in Europe and China.

J.J. Hickson

Cavs tenure: 2008-11

Current Team: Jiangsu Monkey King

Hickson lasted far longer in the NBA than he probably should have, but he’s now in China, where he averaged 24.5 points and 13.4 rebounds last season. He’s a pretty perfect Chinese league player in terms of stat-grabbing, so this makes sense.

Jawad Williams

Cavs tenure: 2008-11

Current Team: Unsigned

Williams never panned out as a backup three in Cleveland, but he’s found consistent work as a scorer in France and Greece. He hasn’t been re-signed yet for 2017-2018, but he should find a landing spot somewhere given his track record, which includes a strong Eurocup showing with Gaziantep in 2015-2016.

Lester Hudson

Cavs tenure: 2011-12

Current Team: Liaoning

Hudson spent half of the lockout season in Cleveland, but since then he’s been one of China’s best players. He averaged 31.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game for the CBA’s third-best team last season, proving that any player with NBA pedigree can put up video game numbers in China.

D.J. Kennedy

Cavs tenure: 2011-12

Current Team: Pinar Karsiyaka

A former 10-day contract recipient by the Cavs, Kennedy has turned into a brilliant European scorer, peaking with Russian club Enisey Krasoyak with 15/7/4 per game in 2016. He’ll be a veteran leader for Karsiyaka in the Basketball Champions League this year.

Semih Erden

Cavs tenure: 2010-12

Current Team: Unsigned

Erden, a little-used backup in the lockout season for Cleveland, teamed with former Cavs coach David Blatt at Darussafaka last year, averaging 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Euroleague eight seed. He’s still unsigned at this point, but he’ll find another landing spot in the Turkish league, where he’s proven to be a solid bench big on the offensive end.

Christian Eyenga

Cavs tenure: 2010-12

Current Team: Montakit Fuenlabrada

Skyenga didn’t have any idea how to play basketball when he was a Cavalier, but in Europe, where his athleticism takes a bigger role, he’s been legitimately solid. He acted as a primary initiator for Varese in Italy last season, averaging 12.5 points and 3.8 rebounds, and he should be a number one option for his new Spanish side, Fuenlabrada.

Luke Harangody

Cavs Tenure: 2010-12

Current Team: ratiopharm Ulm

Harangody was a pretty useful crutch for Blatt at Darussafaka last year, Holding down the fort next to new Boston Celtic Ante Zizic at the four. His rebounding and finishing prowess helped him carve out a role in Turkey, and now he’ll take on a new challenge for the former German League defending champions.

Manny Harris

Cavs Tenure: 2010-12

Current Team: AEK Athens

A fun stretch at the end of the 2012 season helped Harris gain immortal status among the bad Cavs, but since he’s flip-flopped between the G-League and European ball. His best year was 2015-16 with Turk Telekom, where he averaged 20.7 points and 5.9 rebounds for a middling Turkish team. His upcoming season with Greek second-tier squad AEK Athens will be interesting, as we will get to see him as a primary scorer on a good squad in a defense-first league.

Kevin Jones

Cavs tenure: 2012-13

Current Team: Unsigned

Jones was an afterthought on his 10-day deal in 2013, but he’s actually turned into one of the VTB League’s (Russia’s league) best power forwards. He left Lokomotiv Kuban after being their best scorer last season, and is betting on a return deal in the NBA If not, he’ll be a likely Euroleague late addition.

Samardo Samuels

Cavs tenure: 2010-13

Current Team: Jiangsu

Yep. Slamardo’s #StillintheLeague! He teamed with Hickson last year and created an absolutely dominant frontcourt, and then pitched in some quality minutes for Enel Brindisi in the Italian league after CBL play ended. He’s turned into quite the coveted international big man, as his dabbling with perimeter play and powerful rebounding is much more useful overseas.

Anthony Bennett

Cavs tenure: 2013-14

Current Team: Unsigned

Anthony Bennett is a Euroleague Champion after his half season with Fenerbahce, and no one can ever take that away from him.

Earl Clark

Cavs tenure: 2013-14

Current Team: Besiktas

Clark never fit in in Cleveland, but he’s found an ideal role in the Turkish league, averaging 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He’s their number one scorer, and signed a lengthy contract extension that will make sure he’s the guy for the BCL squad for the rest of his prime.

Scotty Hopson + Will Cherry

Cavs tenure: 2014

Current Team: Cedevita Zagreb

Cedevita is the home for former disparaged Cavs, with Cherry, Hopson, and Nichols all joining up for 2017-2018. Hopson has struggled to find a role at the European level, but his talent has helped him stick around, just like how it earned his crazy Cavs contract. Cherry, meanwhile, has been a very solid primary initiator for Alba Berlin and Gaziantep, and should help make Cedevita a Eurocup favorite this season.

Sergey Karasev

Cavs tenure: 2013-14

Current Team: Zenit St. Petersburg

Karasev failed out of the NBA, but his first year back in Russia was great: He averaged 15.1 points per game and led Zenit to the Eurocup Elite Eight. He will operate as the primary scorer for a loaded team this season.

Milan Macvan

Cavs tenure: Cavs own his draft rights

Current Team: Bayern Munich

The bruising, terrifying Serbian is still technically under Cavs control, and will ply his trade for a Bayern team that will be able to use his nonstop motor and excellent rebounding skill very well this year.

Henry Sims

Cavs tenure: 2013-14

Ol’ Hank Sims is still kicking in Italy, having finally given up on the NBA dream, it seems. He’s a game-changing power rebounder in Europe.

Alex Kirk

Cavs tenure: 2014-15

Current Team: Toyota Alvark

It was a strange experience for me, noted Alex Kirk hater, to see him join forces with Cedi Osman and help Anadolu Efes make the playoffs last year. He made big impressions in Euroleague, to the point where he had the best nickname in the land.

He moved on to Japan this season, a surprise considering how good he was in Turkey.

Jordan McRae

Cavs tenure: 2016-2017

Current Team: Saski Baskonia

McBae is back in action! He signed with Baskonia, another Spanish side, a few weeks ago. Playing for former NBA player Pablo Prigioni, McRae should be able to make an impression as a lead guard at the Euroleague level. He’s tall enough and athletic enough to make a difference, and it’s great to see him rebound after being waived earlier this year.