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Frye returning to Cavaliers on one-year, $2.4 million deal

By JOE VARDON • Updated Jul 15, 2018 at 12:39 AM

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers and veteran forward Channing Frye agreed on a one-year, $2.4 million contract for him to re-join the franchise where he won a championship in 2016, league sources told cleveland.com.

Frye, 35, was traded by the Cavs to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Isaiah Thomas and Cleveland's first-round pick for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. on Feb. 8.

A fan favorite who is also close with lone Cavs All-Star Kevin Love, Frye posted a picture of himself to Instagram in his familiar Cleveland No. 9 jersey with the caption "Well I guess this is hello again."

Love immediately liked the photo. This matters because, well, the Cavs have said they did not want to tear down the team and trade Love as part of a major rebuilding project.

Yahoo! Sports first reported Frye's agreement with the Cavs.

In parts of three seasons in Cleveland, Frye averaged 7.5 points and shot .390 from 3-point range. The Cavs acquired him at the trade deadline in 2016 as a big (Frye is 6-10) who could stretch the floor.

He was an immediate hit in the locker room and on the Cavs' bench, playing a key role in their run up to the Finals. Frye played little in both Finals against the Warriors — in 2016 when the Cavs won and in 2017 when they were bounced in five games — but he and Richard Jefferson were two veterans who often kept the team's star-studded personalities from killing each other.

Frye lost a spot in coach Tyronn Lue's rotation at the start of last season, but found time because of various injuries to Tristan Thompson and Love. Frye rejoins a team that now has five bigs -- counting Frye, Love, Thompson, Nance, and Ante Zizic.

It was not immediately clear if the Cavs were considering another roster move — such as trading Thompson or waiving him (he's owed $36 million over the next two seasons) — to make room for Frye and Zizic to play real minutes.

Frye could easily have been brought back primarily as a veteran presence in the locker room, which would mean the Cavs don't need to make room for him.

Frye is the Cavs' first free-agent signing this offseason. His contract is for the vet's minimum and will only count for $1.5 million against the salary cap.

With the departure of LeBron James, the Cavs are now under the league's luxury-tax threshold of $123 million. It means Cleveland has more flexibility financially to sign free agents.

The Cavs could sign a player to an $8.6 million deal this season or to a four-year deal worth $37 million; they could separately sign someone to a $3.3 million contract for one year or a two-year deal worth $7 million.

Once Frye signs, the Cavs will have 13 players under contract, though Kendrick Perkins is expected to be traded or released. They could also waive Okaro White, or sign him to a two-way contract in which he spends part of the time with the Cavs and the rest with their G-League affiliate in Canton.

Also still dangling out there is restricted free agent Rodney Hood, who was tendered a one-year, $3.4 million qualifying offer by the Cavs. It means they can match any offer Hood gets on the open market, which they appear content to do when that time comes.

In addition to James, Cleveland also lost veterans Jeff Green and Jose Calderon to free agency.

 

Cavaliers excuse Zizic for World Cup final

LAS VEGAS — The Cavaliers said Ante Zizic could leave Las Vegas and head home to Croatia to be with his family for the country's World Cup final match Saturday.

Zizic, 21, is traveling to his hometown of Split, Croatia, to watch the game. Croatia played France in Moscow for World Cup glory. The match was at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Zizic was acquired along with two other players and two draft picks from Boston in last summer's blockbuster trade for Kyrie Irving. He hasn't been home to Croatia in 11 months, a Cavs source said.

Zizic averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 32 games as a rookie. The 6-11, 250-pounder played in two Summer League games with Cleveland and averaged 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. He didn't play in the Cavs' last game on Wednesday, and was seated on the baseline watching Croatia beat England on a Cavs' front office member's tablet.

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