Cleveland Cavaliers Reached Out to Josh Smith Before Signing Larry Sanders

By Joe Bacaron, Posted: 03/14/17 04:42PM EDT

Josh Smith was one of the players the Cleveland Cavaliers pursued before finally signing Larry Sanders. The Cavaliers decided to waive injured center Andrew Bogut, replacing him with the former Milwaukee Bucks starter.

According to Yahoo Sports, Sanders underwent a physical on Monday after making the trip to Cleveland on Sunday. The contract was guaranteed for the remainder of the season, but the Cavaliers also hold a virtual team option for the 2017-18 NBA season.

The Cavaliers had high hopes when they signed Bogut, but the Australian big man suffered a leg injury. The former Golden State Warriors center was injured 58 seconds into his debut for the the defending champions. The hulking center did not undergo surgery to repair a broken tibia but was ruled out for the rest of the season.

After failing to draw interest from some NBA teams, Smith signed a three-month contract with the Sichuan Whales in Chinese Basketball League for $1.5 million. As early as January, Larry Brown Sports reported that the Cavs are interested in securing the services of the versatile forward.

Smith failed to impress in his last two teams, the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers, averaging only about 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.6 dimes. However, his defense and versatility would be crucial in a championship team like the Cavs.

The 6-9 forward's best year as an NBA player was in 2011-2012 when he played for the Atlanta Hawks. He averaged 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steal.

Meanwhile, the Cavs are hoping that Sanders would shore up the frontline with his defensive instincts. When he was playing for the Bucks, he was one of the best shot-blockers in the league. According to the report, Sanders has been training extensively over the past year, and tapped Stan Remy to prepare his body for the rigorous competition when he does make his comeback.

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