Hoping to get some depth at center, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Monday the signing of rookie free agent center Alex Kirk to a two-year contract.
The 7-0, 245-pound big man had one year of eligibility remaining at the University of New Mexico, but went unselected in the 2014 NBA Draft. The extra year of eligibility was the result of his missing his sophomore season after undergoing back surgery on a herniated disc.
Last season, Kirk won a spot on the Mountain West Conference All-Defensive team, as well as a third team berth on the conference’s All-League squad. He tallied 13.3 points per game for the Lobos, grabbing an average of 8.7 rebounds per contest, while swatting away an impressive 2.7 shots per game.
Kirk joins the thinnest area of talent on the team’s revamped roster, with only veterans Anderson Varejao and newcomer Brendan Haywood currently in the middle. The latter two are also on the wrong side of 30 years of age, which could make Kirk’s youth a subtle asset for a team now aiming for an NBA title.
Kirk recently made an impact on the new Cavalier coaching staff as part of the franchise’s Las Vegas Summer League team. In his first game with the squad, Kirk hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds, and finished with an average of 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in the five games played.
“Alex has been great for us. He was one of the best players in our (pre-Summer League) camp and he’s doing all the things he’s being asked to do.”
“I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity in front of me,” he said. “That’s the goal, to make an NBA roster. This was the best fit we saw for me after the draft and now I need to make the most of it.”
Despite the two-year deal, Kirk is not guaranteed a spot on the final roster. One of the reasons he likely went undrafted was the fact that his NBA combine body fat test showed him to be at 13.6 percent, second-highest of any player at the showcase, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.