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Cavs official statement addressing trading Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to Atlanta

When basketball gets epic, people become convinced it’s scripted and that the rules are rigged for the most righteous story lines. However, nobody could’ve predicted the NBA we’ve witnessed over the last 10 years because many don’t realize when something ends, something else begins. For the Cavaliers, there have been a number of endings that led to unforeseen beginnings and unfortunately, even more endings. From ending a 52-year drought, to losing the title a season later, the Cavs have had to redo their roster to keep up with unpredictable times. In that tight of a window, not many players make it from beginning to end.

Today, the Cavaliers finalize their 15-man roster that started at a deep 20 a couple weeks ago when training camp launched. From youngsters to veterans, the cuts have all been talent-centered; but the most painful move is certainly saying goodbye to Richard Jefferson. Earlier on Saturday morning, Cavs GM Koby Altman released a statement on the official trade that sent Jefferson along with Kay Felder to the Atlanta Hawks.

“These situations and decisions are some of the toughest to be in and have to make. Certainly, both RJ and Kay are two guys we also wanted to have here with us this season,” said Altman.

“RJ embodies all of the things you could want in a veteran player and teammate. His consistent success at a very high level over many years is a reflection of the kind of high quality player and person he is. His steady leadership, great attitude, dependability and performance helped us win an NBA Championship and we are grateful for all of his contributions on the court and within our locker room. Kay is a young, hard-working, talented player who has the potential for a bright and long future in this league as well. His daily dedication and hard work are going to help him greatly.”

“We thank RJ and Kay and wish them the very best as they move on to the next chapter of their NBA careers.”

“Jefferson (6-7, 233) spent the previous two seasons with the Cavaliers, playing in 153 games (18 starts) with averages of 5.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 19.2 minutes. A member of the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA championship team, Jefferson appeared in 35 postseason games for Cleveland and averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16.0 minutes. The 16-year veteran originally signed with the Cavaliers on August 5, 2015.”

“Felder (5-9, 176) appeared in 42 games for Cleveland in 2016-17, averaging 4.0 points and 1.4 assists in 9.2 minutes. He was the No. 54 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and was acquired by the Cavaliers on draft night.”

A life-long friend and Clevelander, Jefferson served the Cavaliers well. Atlanta will waive him, but Jefferson says it doesn’t mean his NBA ride is over. Altman also talked about what the Cavs sent Jefferson, Felder and two second round picks for.

“Agravanis (6-10, 235) has played for Olympiacos in the Greek Basketball League since 2013 and was the 59th overall pick by the Hawks in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 2016-17, he played in 51 total games (nine starts) for Olympiacos in Greece and Euroleague play with averages of 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game. Over his career, the 22-year-old has helped his teams capture the FIBA Intercontinental Cup (2013) and two Greek League titles (2015, 2016).”

“Gladyr (6-5, 190) was selected by Atlanta with the 49th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and has spent the past two seasons with the French League club AS Monaco Basket. Gladyr, who also participated in Summer League with the Hawks in 2010 and 2013, averaged 9.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 20.5 minutes over 53 total games (nine starts) for Monaco in the French League, Basketball Champions League and Leaders Cup during the 2016-17 season. He is a two-time Leaders Cup winner (2016, 2017), Leaders Cup MVP (2017) and French Cup winner (2014).”

While the rights to these players mean nothing for this season, they do become assets in a situation where the Cavs needed to trade players to meet roster requirements and reduce luxury tax. Nevertheless, thank you Richard Jefferson. For the hustle, the laughs, the title and above all, the podcasts. Your time in the 2016 NBA Finals when Kevin Love got hurt was invaluable, and your leadership in the locker room these past two seasons are why the city of Cleveland cherishes you. Again, thank you.

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