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Former Auburn guard Sharife Cooper will go to training camp with the Cleveland Cavaliers later this month.
While the NBA team has not announced the signing, after the Athletic reported the news on Monday, Cooper tweeted: “Let’s work. #cavs” accompanied by the praying-hands emoji.
Cooper had been without a team since July 25, when the Atlanta Hawks waived him three days after the team signed him to a two-way contract.
The Cavaliers are expected to open training camp on Sept. 27.
Before adding Cooper, Cleveland had 18 players on its roster, with 12 on fully guaranteed contracts, including former Auburn standout Isaac Okoro. Those numbers suggest the possibility of training camp/preseason competition for the final spots on the regular-season roster.
Cleveland’s four-game preseason schedule starts on Oct. 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavaliers will tip off the NBA’s 2022-23 season on Oct. 19 on the road against the Toronto Raptors.
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Cooper played for Atlanta on a two-way contract during the 2021-22 season after the Hawks selected him with the 48th choice in the 2021 NBA Draft. Each NBA team can have two players on two-way contracts, which allows them to be moved between the NBA roster and an NBA G League affiliate without going through waivers.
Last season, Cooper averaged 16.3 points and 6.7 assists in 22 games for the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate.
Cooper played in 13 NBA games as a rookie. He had seven points, five rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes for the Hawks in the 2021-22 season.
In the NBA 2K23 Summer League in July, Cooper averaged 4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for Atlanta’s entry in the Las Vegas event. Cooper scored 15 of his 22 total points in one game. He had trouble getting his shot to fall, going 7-of-37 overall and 2-of-11 from 3-point range.
Cooper’s only season at Auburn got off to a late start because of eligibility concerns and ended early because of an ankle injury. In the 12 games in between, Cooper averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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