Can we file this one under “strange but true” yet? Italian-language website SoloBasket.it is reporting that Partizan Belgrade has indeed signed Mateen Cleaves in the wake of the Milt Palacio departure.
Solo Basket reports that “Partizan will be back in Europe after the U.S. tour, and bringing back its new American player. The black-and-white of Belgrade, who separated with Milton Palacio for disciplinary reasons last week, have in fact put Mateen Cleaves under contract.
“The former Michigan State University champion’s contract is for two months, but with an option to extend through the end of the season.”
Despite the whisperings and rumors, this hardly seemed believable yesterday; Cleaves hasn’t played above the level of NBA D-League since playing with the Denver Nuggets in preseason 2008 and hasn’t played in a high-rank professional game since his 2008 stint with Panionios which included playing in five Greek League games and the ULEB Cup tournament.
Best of luck to Cleaves and Partizan on the occasion of this move, something of a gamble for both parties involved.