Ante Zizic Excused by Cavs to Go Home to Croatia for World Cup Final vs. France

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Ante Zizic (41) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic has World Cup fever—and he is being excused from the 2018 NBA Summer League as a result.                    

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reported Friday that the Cavaliers have granted Zizic permission to leave the summer-league squad to fly home to Croatia so he can watch the FIFA World Cup final with his family.

The Vatreni have appeared in just five World Cups and are making their first trip to the final. Their previous best finish was third place in 1998, when they defeated the Netherlands after losing to eventual champions France in the semifinals.

Given the historic occasion, it's no wonder the Cavaliers are allowing him to go home to soak in the experience. 

Cleveland acquired Zizic from the Boston Celtics last summer in the Kyrie Irving trade. The 2016 first-round pick averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.7 minutes per game over 32 contests last season, his first action in the NBA after spending 2016-17 playing overseas.

The 6'11", 250-pound center has been making his presence felt in the summer league. In two games, he averaged 20.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Zizic got his feet wet last year as LeBron James and Co. made another run to the NBA Finals. Now that James has moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers, though, the 21-year-old big man may have more opportunities to show what he can do.    

Croatia takes on France at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at 11 a.m. ET.