Cavaliers News: David Nwaba Turned Down Pacers Contract to Sign with CLE

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' David Nwaba poses for a portrait during the NBA basketball team's media day, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Independence, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Before signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in early September, former Chicago Bulls guard David Nwaba had a multi-year offer from a different playoff contender.

However, his top priority was finding the right situation—even if it meant taking a one-year deal.

"Indiana wanted me for two years, but Cleveland seemed like a better fit," Nwaba revealed recently, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. "Young guys as well as veterans on this team so I thought it was a perfect fit and knew I was going to get my opportunity here."   

An undrafted free agent in 2016, Nwaba is now on his third team in three seasons. He spent his first season in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers before moving on to the Chicago Bulls last year via waivers.

The 6'4", 219-pound shooting guard averaged 7.9 points while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 23.5 minutes per game with the Bulls last season. He had a defensive rating of 108.9, and his average defensive speed of 4.38 ranked among the tops in the league.

That solid campaign led Chicago to extend a qualifying offer to the free agent back in June. However, that qualifying offer was rescinded a couple of weeks later as the Bulls looked to make other moves. The team ultimately signed Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million contract and re-signed Zach LaVine to a four-year, $78 million deal.

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Nwaba had anticipated staying in Chicago, but he welcomes a new opportunity.

"Thought I was going to stay there for years to come," Nwaba said, per Fedor. "But it's a business. It all worked out, ended up still living the dream of playing in the NBA. Think this is a good opportunity here and just moved past it."

Cleveland is coming off four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, although it lost four-time NBA MVP LeBron James to the Lakers this summer. As a result, the franchise will be looking to build for the future—and that gives players like Nwaba a chance to prove themselves.

Nwaba could have opted for more security with a longer deal, but ultimately, he believes his game will be able to flourish with the Cavs, perhaps leading to a multi-year deal down the road.

"I thought I should prove myself before taking any offer long term," Nwaba told Fedor. "I chose the one year and bet on myself."

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