Cavs waive five players, exercise team options on Mobley, Okoro

The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised the third-year (2023-24) contract option on Evan Mobley and the fourth-year (2023-24) contract option on Isaac Okoro, the team announced Saturday.

Mobley, who was selected third overall by the Cavaliers in the 2021 NBA Draft and was a unanimous All-Rookie First Team selection, appeared in 69 games (all starts) last season with averages of 15.0 points on .508 shooting from the field, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.67 blocks in 33.8 minutes.

The 7-footer became just the fourth rookie in NBA history to average at least 14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks, joining Pau Gasol (2001-02), Tim Duncan (1997-98) and Chris Webber (1993-94). The 21-year-old was the runner-up for the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year award; Mobley led all first-year players in rebounds (8.3), blocks (1.67), and field goal percentage (.508) and ranked second in minutes (33.8), fifth in points (15.0), seventh in steals (0.81) and eighth in assists (2.5). He also led all NBA rookies in double-doubles with 21, which is tied for the fourth-most ever by a Cavaliers rookie. 

The 21-year-old Okoro was Cavs’ fifth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Last season, he appeared in 67 games and averaged 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per contest. The 6-6 guard scored in double figures in 26 games, including four 20-point performances.

In other moves, the Cavs waived five players: guard Sharife Cooper, forward Mamadi Diakite, forward Nate Hinton, guard R.J. Nembhard, and forward Jamorko Pickett. 

According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs expect to bring Cooper, Hinton, and Pickett back as members of the G League affiliate Charge and Nembhard, who averaged 24.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest in 15 games with the Charge, could return as well.

According to Fedor, the Cavs could also bring Diakite back on a two-way deal.

Cleveland, whose roster currently stands at 14, is keeping the final roster spot open due to its salary cap situation as the team is $2.5 million away from the luxury tax, according to Fedor.

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