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Cleveland Cavaliers to sign Raptors 905’s Walter Tavares, continue with mind games

As the 905 make their title run, they have to say goodbye to their starting centre.

Last night Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers will release Larry Sanders and sign Raptors 905 centre Walter Tavares (a.k.a. Edy) to a multi-year contract. This means no potential D-League title ring for Tavares, and a harder road ahead for the baby Raptors.

The 905 have been the best team in the D-League since the start of the season, but their depth is now being put to the test. First, the squad lost Axel Toupane to the Pelicans and now Tavares to the Cavs. (Will Sheehey is also out for the season with an elbow injury.)

On the plus side, the call-up is long overdue for Tavares, as he’s been a huge part of the 905’s success, and a likely favourite for Defensive Player of the Year in the D-League. Tavares was the 905’s anchor on the defensive end with an incredible 10.1 percent block rate.

Tavares was a waiver add to then 905 after he failed to make the Hawks roster this season. With the 905, Tavares averaged 10.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.4 assists in 23.6 minutes per game.

With Tavares now gone, Yanick Moreira will be the starting centre for the 905, with perhaps Goodluck Okonoboh getting backup minutes. The team could also go small with C.J. Leslie or Pascal Siakam drawing some minutes at the five. There are still options on the roster, given the team’s strength overall.

As the 905 organization has made clear, it’s a great thing when the team’s players make the jump to the NBA. It suggests the franchise is doing something right. Losing two players during the stretch run indicates that the 905 are not only good on the court, but helping to develop players in the right way. Still, it’s a shame Tavares won’t be able to help the 905 continue their fantastic run this season.

(And the Cavaliers, desperate for front court defensive help, will now be able to use Tavares against the Raptors if the two teams meet in the second round of the playoffs.)