Blazers Summer League alum Antonius Cleveland signs with Warriors

 

Antonius Cleveland, who inked a Summer League deal with Portland the night of the draft, is heading to Golden State.

If you have followed the Rip City Project on Twitter, you’ll know how much I am a fan of Antonius Cleveland.

It all started when I wrote the Summer League preview on Cleveland. Just by sifting through his YouTube highlights, I became enthralled by the player he is.

And now, the player I rooted for so hard is inking a deal with the Golden State Warriors, per ESPN’s Ian Begley:

According to CSN Bay Area, the deal is a training camp invite for the undrafted guard.

Why am I such a big Cleveland fan? Well, if you watched him in Summer league for Portland you’ll know.

He showed not only impressive hustle, but threw down some thunderous dunks and hustled on both ends of the court:

But what surprised me was his defensive ability. In his highlights, he often turned opportunistic steals into dunks; he did this in Summer League, too.

Yet the defensive intensity he played with on the ball was mesmerizing. He locked up several players by stretching his arms out, keeping his defensive stance and cutting off any penetration.

Cleveland passed the eye test (in my eyes at least). He looks like a solid two-way player, one Portland could’ve used.

With the Allen Crabbe trade, and subsequent waiving of Andrew Nicholson, there’s an open roster spot looming.

But, a luxury tax hit would come if Portland went after him. There’s a $4.7 million tax hit coming with Pat Connaughton’s $1.4 million option if Portland chooses to accept that.

Leaving an open roster spot also allows trade flexibility if the Blazers choose to make another move.

Still, getting Cleveland, who plays lockdown defense and provides highlight reel dunks, would not only be a fun signing, but he’d be able to fill defensive needs for the Blazers.

It’ll be hard seeing him in a Warriors jersey come training camp, but I’m so excited to see where his NBA career goes.