April 23, 2014

Cavs Send Christian Eyenga to D-League

With the Erie Bayhawks set to start their season this Friday, the Cavaliers have assigned 2009 first-round draft selection Christian Eyenga to their NBA Development League affiliate.

Last season, Eyenga - who his teamamtes refer to as “No English” - signed with DKV Joventut (more notoriously known for point guard Ricky Rubio), where he played very limited minutes, showing the ocassional flash of brilliance.  This summer, Eyenga played for the Cavaliers Summer League team in Las Vegas where he averaged 11.4 points and 4.2 rebounds while turning a few heads with highlight reel dunks and blocked shots.

Recording 11.3 minutes per game this past preseason, Eyenga averaged 4.3 points per game on .625 shooting, pulling down 0.8 rebounds.

The 21-year old from the Congo has been a bit of a controversial player for the Cavaliers as he was selected as a bit of a surprise by then general manager Danny Ferry, ahead of players that were considered to be more NBA ready like San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair.  While Eyenga can jump out of the gym, many thought that, given where the team was, that a more NBA-ready player would be better suited for a potential championship run.

Still very young and very raw, the Cavaliers consider Eyenga to be among the league’s best in terms of athleticism, but also a project-type player who they hope can continue development with NBA calibur players in Erie.  Eyenga will suit up for major minutes along side former Cavaliers Cedric Jackson (who averaged 16.4 pts, 7.4 ast and 2.1 stl with Erie in 2009-10) and Tasmin Mitchell.  Not playing a single minute thus far for the Cavaliers,  head coach Byron Scott echoes the necessity to get him active minutes and additional work with an NBA program.

“With a young man like Christian, you want to get him on the floor and get him some playing time,” said Scott earlier this week. “If we can’t do that in our games, the best thing is the D-League. We need him here now.”

Eyenga signed a deal this past summer for a reported $2 million over two years, with years three and four being team options.

(AP Photo/Steve Campbell)

  • Horace

    He’ll wash out of the league in 18 months or so. Ferry made some good moves here, but this probably wasn’t one of them.

  • KTEAR

    i really want to hear austin carr say THROWS THE HAMMER DOWN for christian eyenga

  • Stinkfist

    At least we didnt spend a top 5 pick on a D-leaguer
    **Ahemm… Thabeet**

  • MP34

    There seems to be some revisionist history going on here. When the Cavs selected Eyenga they were stacked at PF, including a young JJ Hickson that was developing. Adding in the 6’7″ Blair wouldn’t have made sense at the time.

    The Cavs knew Eyenga wasn’t NBA ready but didn’t have a roster spot for him anyways, so it made sense to have him go to Europe for the season.

    I have no idea if Eyenga will ever amount to a productive NBA player but he’s only 21 and was the 30th overall pick. When anything outside of the top 10 in the draft is a crap shoot this pick isn’t anything to get worked up over.

  • kevin

    this move just shows why the cavs shouldn’t have signed him… Europe has a wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better level than the d-league, with top coaches and top facilities. Eyenga would have developed faster there!