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OU's Felder signs with Cavs, gets $1M guaranteed

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Oakland's Kay Felder took a chance, and on Saturday, it paid off.

The star shooting guard, who left college with a year of eligibility remaining to enter the NBA draft, has signed a three-year contract with the Cavaliers that guarantees him at least $1 million.

The deal is worth a maximum of $2.49 million.

Felder was the 54th overall pick in the NBA draft, by the Atlanta Hawks, who then sold his rights to the world-champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who paid more than $2 million just to acquire Felder.

Felder, 21, represented by Detroit agent Brandon Grier, played in seven games for the Cavaliers during the Las Vegas summer league, and averaged 15.3 points.

"We have a lot faith in Kay's ability to get there," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin told during the summer league. "It's going to take time for Kay, but the person he is, the competitor and the worker he is, we feel very confident if we invest in him much the way we invested in Matthew Dellavedova that we will have a player who is willing to achieve and frankly overachieve."

Felder, the 5-foot-9 former Detroit Pershing star, played three seasons at Oakland, with his junior season being his best, as he was fourth in the nation in scoring (24.4) and first in assists (9.3).

He stock rose dramatically throughout the season, as he had banner games against marquee opponents like Washington, Michigan State and Virginia.

He also was featured by several prominent national news outlets, including ESPN's "SportsCenter."

Figuring there was no time like the present, he decided, against the wishes of his mother, to go pro early.

Oakland could've purchased insurance for Felder, had he come back for his senior season, but he was steadfast in his decision, quickly hiring Grier to erase all doubt. And it led to some tense moments on draft night, as he slipped deep into the second round, with just more than a handful of picks to go in the draft.

That's when Cleveland, which has a star in LeBron James who is on record being impressed by the times he has seen Felder play in person, decided to strike, and invest significant dollars to land Felder.

"One of the best days of my life, period," Felder said on draft night, in June. "My life has changed."