As first reported by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, the Cavs have declined to pick up Ante Zizic’s fourth-year option for the 2020-21 season. Had the team picked up his option, he would have made $3.8 million next season. Instead, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
The Cavs won’t be picking up the $3.8 million fourth year option on Ante Zizic’s contract, league sources told ESPN. Zizic came over to the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade two years ago. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 30, 2019
In two NBA season, Zizic has averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He’s currently out with a foot issue and is expected to be healthy towards the end of the month. Zizic was originally acquired by the Cavs when they traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas the draft pick that became Collin Sexton.
Considering how cheap his salary would be for next season — and how much cap space the Cavs will have next summer — this is a clear sign the Zizic just isn’t in the team’s plans. They could bring him back, but it seems highly unlikely at this point. And considering his path to minutes appears limited, it’s probably in Zizic’s best instance to move on too.
Zizic has some NBA skills, most notably as a roll man, but he doesn’t have range beyond the paint and isn’t a particularly mobile defender. There’s a role for him in the NBA, but it’s likely a niche role.