Free agent G Ty Jerome has agreed on a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
Jerome landed with the Warriors after the Thunder sent him to the Rockets in the most inconsequential eight-player trade in NBA history. Houston had no interest in competing last year, and at 25, Jerome was far too old for the Rockets, who jettisoned anyone who could legally rent a car.
He and the Rockets parted ways and Jerome landed in Golden State as one of their two-way players. Jerome found a lot of playing time with the Warriors, maxing out on his 50 games on the active roster and averaging 6.9 points and three assists per game, against just 0.7 turnovers. He also shot 38.9 percent on three-pointers, and let’s just say Steve Kerr would have greatly preferred having Jerome on the 15-man roster than Ryan Rollins.
But even though the Warriors have shifted to a one-timeline approach and gave Jerome a qualifying offer, $5 million for two years was too rich for their gold blood.
Now Jerome gets some stability and guaranteed money as a depth option for the Cavaliers, where he’ll likely be the fifth guard behind starters Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and backups Ricky Rubio and Caris Levert, who Cleveland re-signed Friday.
The Cavaliers are loading up after a disappointing first-round loss last year, adding Jerome along with wings Max Strus and Georges Niang, bolstering their weakest position of small forward. They also added NBA champion and Golden State Warriors legend Damian Jones, who shot 10-14 on three-pointers for the Jazz last year. Was he a Splash Brother all along?
Why Jerome? Maybe because he had his best game of the season in Cleveland, scoring 22 points on 10-14 shooting and dishing eight assists with four Warriors starters sitting out.
Jerome will hopefully find a stable and winning situation in Northeast Ohio. He was traded twice before his career even began, getting shipped to Phoenix via Boston after the Philadelphia 76ers took him with the No. 24 pick. After an injury-marred rookie year, Jerome was sent to Oklahoma City in the Chris Paul trade in 2020, then switched teams in a double salary dump/roster purge last summer.
Last year, Jerome proved he could contribute to winning basketball, or whatever you’d call what the Warriors played last season. Let’s hope he keeps it going in Cleveland - until the Cavs-Warriors Finals rematch in June, at least.