Former Golden State Warriors power forward and center Jordan Bell has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Cavs, like the Warriors, are done with their 2019-20 NBA season. Cleveland went 19-46 before the coronavirus suspended the season, and they were not invited to the July restart in Orlando.
But when the league reopened the transaction window last week, even eliminated teams were allowed to make moves. That allowed organizations to do exactly what Cleveland is doing — add talent for next year.
A two-year deal in this case just means through the 2020-21 season, with the first of the two years being the current season (even though Bell and the Cavs can’t play).
So Bell is heading back to the scene where he won the 2018 NBA Finals as a rookie. At the time, his career looked mighty promising. The Warriors had bought a second-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls so that they could draft Bell, and pundits immediately began lauding the team for getting away with yet another steal.
That was backed up by Bell’s solid play as a rookie, where he averaged 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game in just over 14 minutes a night.
Fans — and perhaps the organization — were expecting a big leap in his second year, but it never came. He got fewer minutes as Steve Kerr seemed to trust him less, and the team reportedly dealt with immaturity issues from the prospect, even suspending him for playing a prank on assistant coach Mike Brown.
By the end of the 2018-19 season, it appeared as though the Warriors were done with Bell, and it turned out they were. Even though Bell was a restricted free agent, the Warriors didn’t match the small offer sheet the Minnesota Timberwolves gave him, and he started his third season in Minneapolis.
That didn’t go as planned, either. Bell got even fewer minutes on a lottery-bound Wolves team than he’d received on contending Warriors teams, and he was eventually traded to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets immediately sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies, who suited him up for two games before waiving him.
And now he’ll move forward with the Cavs, and try to carve out a long-term role in the NBA. He’ll certainly have plenty of Warriors fans rooting for him.