Cavaliers draft-and-stash prospect Gudaitis staying overseas

Sam Amico

Cleveland Cavaliers draft-and-stash prospect Arturas Gudaitis is joining a new team, but that team won't be the Cavs. At least, not for next season.

Instead, Gadaitis is all but officially leaving Olimpia Milano of Italy for Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

So, who's Gudaitis?

For starters, he's a 6-foot-10 native of Lithuania. He was also drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round (No. 47 overall) in 2015. Prior to the draft, it was reported at least 11 teams were interested in Gudaitis. The Cavs were one of them.

So were the Sacramento Kings -- who traded for Gudaitis' rights a month after he was drafted (in a deal that netted the Sixers Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry).

Anyway, Cavs general manager Koby Altman eventually acquired the rights to Gudaitis in a three-way trade with the Kings and Utah Jazz in February 2018. The deal also involved Iman Shumpert (to the Kings), Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose (to the Jazz), and Rodney Hood and George Hill (to the Cavs).

Gudaitis, now 27, was merely considered a "throw-in" in that trade. But those Cavs had LeBron James. They didn't really factor in Gudaitis. Today, though, Altman needs to consider all options.

Right now, apparently, one of those options apparently won't be Gudaitis.

Other than with Olimpia Milano, Gudaitis has spent his entire career playing with teams from his native Lithuania. He suffered an ACL injury in February 2019, but was widely considered one of the top centers in EuroLeague until that point, drawing comparisions to former Cavs center (and fellow Lithuanian) Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Gudaitis has slowly-but-surely worked his way back, appearing in 19 games with Olimpia Milano this past season.

Many around pro basketball seem to think Gudaitis is ready for the NBA. But for now, Gudaitis seems to think differently.