David Nwaba

Report: Former Bulls guard David Nwaba will sign with Cavs

nwaba-220.jpg
USA TODAY

Report: Former Bulls guard David Nwaba will sign with Cavs

David Nwaba and the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly agreed to a deal, according to Yahoo's Shams Charania.

The Bulls opted against bringing back Nwaba this summer, rescinding his qualifying offer two days before agreeing to a two-year, $40 million deal with Jabari Parker. The Bulls also signed Antonio Blakeney to a two-year deal, in essence to fill the backcourt void left by Nwaba's departure.

Though it was a formality that Nwaba wasn't part of the plan post-Parker signing, it's an interesting move to say the least. Nwaba showed significant improvement in his first full NBA season - he played 20 games with the Lakers in 2017 - averaging 7.9 points on 48 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 23.5 minutes. He played 70 games, started 21, and more often than not took the toughest defensive assignment.

He also showed improvement from beyond the arc after the All-Star break. With the Bulls focused more on development than wins and losses *cough*tanking*cough*, Nwaba averaged 9.9 points and made better than 39 percent of his 3-point attempts. His numbers across the board went up as his playing time increased, leading many to believe he was a part of the puzzle moving forward.

Alas, he'll join a division rival in Cleveland that is picking up the pieces in the wake of LeBron James leaving for Los Angeles. The Cavs also added Collin Sexton, another strong defensive backcourt presence who should form a solid tandem with Nwaba.

Of note, Charania writes in his report that Nwaba discussed deals with the Bulls and Pacers during the offseason before ultimately signing with the Cavs.

Odd men out?: Did the Bulls make the right decision in committing to Blakeney?

blakeney.jpg
USA TODAY

Odd men out?: Did the Bulls make the right decision in committing to Blakeney?

Just under a week ago, the Bulls waived Sean Kilpatrick after just nine games with the organization. Hours later on the same day, the team rescinded their qualifying offer to David Nwaba, a key piece to last season’s squad, making him an unrestricted free agent.

These moves begged one main question: what was the team going to do next?

The next step for the Bulls would come two days later when the team signed Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million deal with a team option in the second year of the deal.  

But how was Chicago going to fill the backup shooting guard void caused by Nwaba and Kilpatrick’s absence?

Today, the Bulls answered that question by signing Summer League star Antonio Blakeney, who spent most of his time in the G-League with the Windy City Bulls last season, to a two-year deal.

After the move, it’s easy to ponder another question: did the Bulls make the right decision by choosing Blakeney over Kilpatrick and Nwaba (if he does not re-sign)?

The team surely took Blakeney’s Summer League performance into account when deciding who to keep in Chicago. The 21-year-old guard was hot in Las Vegas this month, averaging 21 points, 2.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds in five July games.

Last season in the G-League, Blakeney was an All-Star and the Rookie of the Year after averaging 32 points (most in the league), 3.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds over 32 games. He did it all in 38.3 minutes per game.

Because he had a two-way contract with the Bulls last season, Blakeney also appeared in the NBA in 19 games, when he averaged 7.9 points, 1.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds. Nwaba averaged the same amount of points over 70 games with 1.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds, exactly three more boards per game than Blakeney.

But Nwaba averaged 23.5 minutes a game to Blakeney’s 16.5. At the same time, Nwaba’s field goal percentage (47.8 percent) last season was significantly higher than Blakeney’s (37.1 percent) in the NBA.  In defense of Blakeney’s poor shooting with the Bulls, his game is solely reliant on scoring compared to Nwaba’s defense-first mindset.

To paint a picture of just how different these two players are from each other, it is useful to look at their field goal attempts per 36 minutes. Nwaba’s FGA per 36 minutes was 9.3 last season, while Blakeney’s was a whopping 16.4. Their three-point field goal percentages are very different as well with Nwaba (34.6 percent) having the advantage compared to Blakeney (28.8 percent), who is certainly a streaky shooter.

Kilpatrick provided a smaller sample size with the Bulls, playing only nine games with Chicago after being signed in March.

The 28-year-old Kilpatrick averaged 15.4 points, 1.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds with the Bulls while averaging 23.8 minutes towards the final stretch of the season with the team. His play, combined with the organization hoping to strike gold with a high draft pick earned him the nickname "Sean Kildraftpick" from some Bulls fans.

He almost couldn’t miss during the months of March and April. During his time with the Bulls, he obtained a shooting percentage of 43.9 percent and shot 39.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc. His field goal attempts per 36 minutes amounted to 18.

Kilpatrick played with four total teams last season, and he’s only played in four NBA seasons. According to Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, the Bulls paid the shooting guard $2.16 million for his short stint with the team. Nwaba was paid $1.3 million for the entire season. In other words, Kilpatrick wasn’t cheap.

So after comparing their statistics, who deserves to play with the Bulls?

All three players made solid contributions with the organization, and the team would be getting a solid role player with any of these guards.

It depends on what type of style the Bulls are looking for, and in this case, it looks like the team is impressed with Blakeney’s scoring abilities, adding to an already offensive-oriented group.

Signs are pointing towards David Nwaba leaving the Bulls

nwaba-712.jpg
USA TODAY

Signs are pointing towards David Nwaba leaving the Bulls

The Bulls have been mostly quiet in free agency, but it sounds like David Nwaba could be leaving.

The guard had a semi-breakout season with the Bulls last year. In his second year in the NBA he averaged 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 70 games. On top of that he was often tasked with defending the best perimeter players on opposing teams, a nod to his high-effort defense.

Nwaba entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, but the Bulls have now allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent. Yahoo's Shams Charania reported that the Bulls rescinded their qualifying offer to him.

Letting Nwaba go isn't going to clear a ton of cap space for the Bulls. It could mean the Bulls knew Nwaba wanted more money than they valued him at.

This could also mean he is heading elsewhere and the move is already in the works.

NBC Sports Chicago's Vincent Goodwill, ever the pot-stirrer, hypothesized something else. The Bulls waived guard Sean Kilpatrick earlier in the day.

The savings from these two moves is small despite the timing. The Bulls have just over $20 million in cap space as things stand.