The Cleveland Cavaliers are far from a complete roster with the season ready to start next week. Full of guards and big men, the Cavs lack depth on the wing specifically the small forward spot.
We just received reports that the Golden State Warriors are releasing Alfonzo McKinnie to make room for former Cav Marquese Chriss:
McKinnie will hit waivers, meaning he is able to be claimed by any team with the roster and salary-cap space. Given his minimum salary, the latter will not be an issue. The former can be rectified if a team doesn't have space by releasing a player in favor of McKinnie.
The Cavaliers are second in the wavier claim order only behind the New York Knicks who currently have a full 15 man roster, all with guaranteed contracts, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks:
With Cedi Osman as the Cavs lone, healthy small forward, claiming McKinnie makes a lot of sense for the team. Rookie Dylan Windler will miss the start of the season due to injury which has left Jordan Clarkson and rookie Kevin Porter Jr., both primarily shooting guards, to take minutes at the three spot.
McKinnie is an interesting player which led many to be surprised that the Warriors decided to waive him. McKinnie played almost 10 minutes a game for the Warriors in last year's NBA Finals and played in 72 games for the team in the regular season. While his statistics do not jump off the page, 4.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, McKinnie's overall play was a net positive for the Warriors.
While going into only his third year in the NBA, McKinnie is not the typical developmental prospect many would think. Already 27 years old, McKinnie played at both Eastern Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in college before playing overseas in Luxembourg then, finally, joining in the D-League in 2017.
McKinnie finally made it to the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in the 2017-18 season, playing in 14 games with minimal minutes. Joining the Warriors the following year gave him a boost in playing time to prove his value to a team. Those minutes and his production are why Shams Charania notes he will be highly sought after in the waiver process.
In his time as a professional, McKinnie has shown a high motor to compliment his athletic abilities. He is a force in transition and coming off screens on offense and uses his length and athleticism to be helpful on the ball and as a team defender.
For the Cavaliers, McKinnie could replace what they lost with the departures of David Nwaba and Jaron Blossomgame from last year. His athletic ability fits well with new Cavs coach John Beilein's offensive system where he could capitalize on the many backdoor cuts and open spacing provided by shooters.
Given his age, the former Warrior is unlikely to develop into something more than a role player but his fit and the Cavs need at the position could make for a match. If the Cavs are interested in claiming him, only the Knicks stand in their way but that would require New York to cut a younger player they've invested in or a veteran that they signed this offseason.
The Cavs could decide that McKinnie isn't a good enough fit or that another player, like Blossomgame who recently became available, works better for what they want. Given his experience and production last year for the Warriors, the Cavs are more likely to claim him than not.