The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guards Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto, and center Robin Lopez, the team announced Friday.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs are giving Ricky Rubio a three-year deal worth $18.4 million, including a partial guarantee in the final year, while Neto and Lopez have reportedly signed one-year contracts.
“Our focus during this offseason has been centered around making this team better and finding the best talent to help strengthen this roster,” Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman said via a press release announcing the move. “When you think about the impact Ricky had on our team last season, his addition became a priority to bring back to Cleveland. We also feel Robin and Raul are both high-character guys who have played a great amount of meaningful basketball and will bring the right balance of seasoned experience and depth to our emerging young core. We are excited for Ricky’s return and welcome Robin and Raul to the Cavaliers family.”
Rubio, 31, was acquired by the Cavs last August in the deal that sent Taurean Prince and a 2022 second-round pick to Minnesota. The 11-year veteran was having a tremendous season and was one of the reasons the Cavs got off to a great start. In 34 games last season (eight starts), the 6-3 guard averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.44 steals.
However, he tore his left ACL in December. Ultimately, his expiring contract was traded to the Pacers in February in the deal that brought Caris LeVert to Cleveland.
Last season in Orlando, the 34-year-old Lopez appeared in 36 games (nine starts), averaging 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.0 minutes. Since 2008, he is one of seven NBA players to shoot .530+ FG% and .700+ FT% over that span, joining Jonas Valanciunas, Enes Freedom, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Domantas Sabonis, and Amar’e Stoudemire (min. 400 games played).
The 7-footer was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Over his 14-year career, Lopez has spent time with Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, and Orlando.
The 30-year-old Neto appeared in 70 games (19 starts) for the Washington Wizards last season, averaging 7.5 points, a career-best 3.1 assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 19.6 minutes. As a starter last season, Neto shot 16-39 (.410) from beyond the arc and scored in double figures on nine occasions.
Neto, a second-round pick of the Hawks in 2013, has played seven NBA seasons with Utah, Philadelphia, and Washington. Before coming to the NBA, he played professionally in Brazil and Spain from 2008-15. A native of Brazil, Neto competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games as a member of the Brazilian National Team.
Neto will probably be the backup point guard for the Cavs until Rubio gets healthy, while Lopez should be the primary backup for center Jarrett Allen. These moves should strengthen the Cavs bench and give this team more veterans to support their young stars.