CLEVELAND (AP) – A week after trading for Mateen Cleaves, the Cleveland Cavaliers sent the point guard back to Sacramento yesterday after he failed his physical.
Still hoping to shore up their backcourt, the Cavs traded a future second-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for guard Milt Palacio.
The Cavs traded small forward Jumaine Jones for Cleaves last week, hoping the former Michigan State standout could help replace Andre Miller at point guard.
“When we made the trade, we felt good about it. Mateen did, and Jumaine was going to a good team. We’ve got four very disappointed parties in this,” said Cavs general manager Jim Paxson.
Team spokesman Bob Price said the trade was contingent on both players passing their physicals. The Cavs will now get Jones back to play in their crowded frontcourt.
Meanwhile, the Cavs also are dealing with Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ legal problems. The 7-foot-3 center was arrested early Sunday on a DUI charge and must appear in court today.
Paxson said he has spoken with Ilgauskas, but declined to comment about his traffic stop.
The 6-foot-3 Palacio will help fill the void created when the Cavs traded Miller to the Los Angeles Clippers in July for forward Darius Miles. The deal left Bimbo Coles as the only true point guard on the Cavs’ roster.
Coles, a 12-year veteran, played just 33 games last season before knee surgery.
The Cavs also have first-round draft choice DaJuan Wagner, but the team would prefer to have the rookie from Memphis remain at shooting guard.
Cleaves began his NBA career in Detroit after leading the Spartans to an NCAA title in 2000.
He averaged 5.4 points and 2.7 assists in 78 games as a rookie, but was traded to Sacramento before last season for guard Jon Barry and a first-round draft pick. Cleaves averaged 2.2 points in 32 games for the Kings.
Paxson wouldn’t say why Cleaves failed his physical, which he took Monday. Cleaves’ agent, Charles Tucker, said his client likely didn’t pass because of a foot injury that forced him to miss time last season and required surgery about two months ago.
Tucker hadn’t talked to Cleaves, but predicted he would be upset.
“It’s disappointing because he wanted to play,” Tucker said. “There’s no time in Sacramento. We’ve got to come up with something.”
The 6-8 Jones averaged 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in his first season with the Cavs, who acquired him along with forward Tyrone Hill in a five-player deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
If he’s not traded again, he’ll compete for playing time with Lamond Murray and Miles.
“Part of the reason we were willing to trade Jumaine is he might be the odd guy out,” Paxson said. “Now he has a chance to come back here and prove us wrong.”
The 24-year-old Palacio averaged 3.8 points and 1.6 assists in 28 games last season for the Suns, who acquired him along with Joe Johnson and Randy Brown from Boston in February for Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers.