Former Kansas forward Billy Preston has signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs' general manager, Koby Altman, announced Saturday.
By signing a two-way contract, the 6-foot-10, 220-pound Preston can spend up to 45 days with the Cavaliers during the 2018-19 season and spend the remainder of the time with the Canton Charge of the NBA G-League.
Preston, 20, scored nine points on 2-of-8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in Friday’s Las Vegas Summer League debut with the Cavs — a 72-59 victory over Washington.
The McDonald’s All-American, who was ranked No. 11 in the recruiting Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, represented KU in exhibition games in Italy in the summer of 2017 and during three preseason contests prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign. However, he never participated in a regular-season game for the Jayhawks.
Preston was held out of the opener against Tennessee State as penalty for missing curfew and a class, and missed the next 18 contests as KU compliance and the NCAA looked into the financial picture surrounding a car he had been driving in Lawrence during the school year.
He traveled to Bosnia in January where he played in three games for a professional team before leaving because of an injured shoulder.
Preston worked out for 10 NBA teams but was not taken in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“He didn’t get a chance to work out for Cleveland (prior to draft). He interviewed with them in Chicago (at NBA Combine in May),” Preston’s mom, Nicole Player, said in a recent interview with The Star. “I think he interviewed well. I think maybe that drew them together. Looking at roster rumors, they (Cavs) may or may not bust up the team. It seems to be a good fit," she added.
KU coach Bill Self recently said Preston “is a first-round talent. We had more than one team tell us that. They (NBA scouts) haven’t seen him. You go to Bosnia and only play three games (because of injury). They’ve not had a chance to see him over there playing against what the NBA would consider legitimate competition. They don’t see him at Kansas. It hurt him as far as the draft goes. The bottom line is (undrafted players) have to show some toughness and do it the harder way. Intangibles will be more important than ever concerning those guys.”
NBA teams are permitted to have two two-way contract players on their roster at any time in addition to a 15-player regular-season roster. Former KU guard Malik Newman recently signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.