CLEVELAND, Ohio — One backup point guard wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite opening their flurry of free agency activity with a three-year deal for veteran lead guard Ricky Rubio, the Cavaliers kept searching for another. Sources tell cleveland.com that the team agreed to a one-year veteran minimum deal with Raul Neto.
Going into his eighth NBA season, the 30-year-old floor general will serve as the primary backup point guard while Rubio recovers from a torn ACL.
Friday’s move will not only take some of the playmaking burden off All-Star point guard Darius Garland — an offseason goal after the youngster became mentally and physically drained by the end of 2021-22 — but it keeps the Cavs from having to rush Rubio’s recovery. When Rubio is ready — possibly December or — the scrappy Neto, known more for his defense than January, will provide needed depth as the third-string point guard, something the Cavs value even more after a pile of backcourt injuries the last few seasons.
Neto — who is close to Cavs assistant coach Antonio Lang from their Utah Jazz days, with Lang often referring to Neto as one of his favorite players — spent the last two years with the Washington Wizards. In 2020-21, Neto posted career-highs in points (8.7), rebounds (2.4), field goal percentage (46.8) and minutes (21.9).
In 70 games this past season, Neto made 19 starts and averaged 7.5 points on 46.3% from the field and a career-worst 29.2% from 3-point range to go with 3.1 assists and 1.9 rebounds.
Originally a second-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2013, Neto has also played for the Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers during his career.
Along with Rubio and Neto, the Cavs also agreed to a one-year deal with veteran center Robin Lopez.
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