Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv targeting Cavs center Zizic

Sam Amico

Israeli power Maccabi Tel Aviv is determined to land reserve Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic during the next offseason, sources told SI.com.

Zizic is 6-foot-10 and was acquired in 2017 as part of the Cavs' Kyrie Irving trade with the Boston Celtics. Many around the league view that as a failed trade for both sides.

Zizic is in the final year of his contract and a return to Cleveland for 2020-21 is highly unlikely. He is making $2.2 million this season -- a number that almost certainly will see a significant increase should he sign overseas.

Zizic has appeared in just 22 games this season, compiling averages of 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds. He became even more expendable after the Cavs acquired center Andre Drummond at the trade deadline in February.

Zizic is now stuck behind Drummond and Tristan Thompson in the rotation. Drummond has a player option that he's widely expected to exercise during the offseason, and Thompson is another unrestricted free agent.

While it's difficult to gauge whether Thompson will return, Zizic doesn't appear to be in the Cavs' plans either way.

Zizc, 23, is a native of Croatia and was drafted by the Celtics with the No. 23 overall pick in 2016. He opted to remain overseas for another year before joining the Cavs after the Irving trade.

Cleveland owns the NBA's 11th-highest payroll, but just a 19-46 record at the hiatus, a record that's second-worst in the league.

The NBA announced Saturday it is in exploratory talks with Walt Disney World in Orlando as a potential host for the season to resume. It has not yet been determined if a restart to the season would include non-playoff teams such as the Cavs.

Israeli basketball website One also reported of Macabbi Tel Aviv's strong interest in Zizic.

Sam Amico covers pro basketball for Sports Illustrated. Follow him @AmicoHoops.

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