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Cavs sign Thon Maker to training camp deal

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Cleveland is taking an interesting flyer on a former lottery pick.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As first reported by Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, Thon Maker has signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Later, the deal was reported as a training camp deal by cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.

Maker, 23, was a lottery pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016. He spent two and a half seasons with the Bucks before being traded to the Pistons. This offseason, Detroit didn’t extend him a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Last year, he appeared in 60 games, averaging 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.

As a training camp deal goes, Maker is worth a look. He’s not been good in the NBA as of yet, but he’s a former lottery pick who is 7’1” with a 7’3” wingspan and a 9’3” standing reach. Those kinds of players aren’t readily available. There are also some interesting underlying numbers and non-box score skills that indicate he does some things well. For one, he contests a decent amount of shot at the rim (BBall-Index gives him an ‘A’ grade) and is active in crashing the offensive glass and getting putbacks.

The question is whether or not he makes the team. It would seem that he, Dean Wade and a few others would be in contention for the last roster spot. And maybe if he doesn’t get the last roster spot, Maker could sign a two-way deal and still be around in a season where depth will be needed. Maker could also provide depth at center if Andre Drummond or JaVale McGee take any nights off amid the condensed 72-game schedule.