Power forward Rakeem Christmas is on his way to his third NBA team this offseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Wednesday:
The Pacers would then ink Christmas to a four-year, $4.5 million contract, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Chris Haynes.
Christmas was selected 36th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and quickly shipped to Cleveland as a part of the Tyus Jones deal that brought the point guard to his home state.
The Syracuse alum forced his way into the draft conversation after a big senior season with the Orange in which he averaged 17.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.
In four NBA Summer League games, Christmas averaged 8.0 points per game and 4.5 rebounds with the Cavaliers, according to the team's press release. Cleveland's second-round pick it acquired in the deal will come in 2019.
It is a bit presumptuous to assume that Christmas will make the roster with the Indiana Pacers, but his acquisition helps add depth to a side that has newly acquired Jordan Allen being backed up by Lavoy Allen, a player who has not averaged more than 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his five-year career.
After losing big men Roy Hibbert and David West, Indiana will need as much help as possible down low a season after it tied for fourth in the league with 44.9 rebounds per game. Christmas' acquisition could be a step in the right direction if the Pacers sign him.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.