The Hilltopper has reached basketball’s summit.
Los Alamos High School and University of New Mexico graduate Alex Kirk will be on the Opening Night roster of an NBA team.
The Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday waived forward Shane Edwards, dropping their roster down to the NBA-required limit of 15 to open the regular season. That means the 6-foot-11 Kirk is now officially an NBA regular-season teammate of players LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
Kirk left UNM with one season of eligibility remaining though he earned a degree. He then went undrafted in June’s NBA draft. He played with the Cavs in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev., and in August signed a two-year, partially guaranteed contract. He will make the league’s rookie minimum this season, a salary of $507,000.
Last week after a Cavaliers practice, first-year head coach David Blatt, unprompted, brought Kirk up to reporters, praising his play.
“Alex has come along very, very well,” Blatt said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s shown great improvement.”
The news wasn’t as good Saturday for former Lobo Drew Gordon, whom Kirk replaced in the post for the 2012-13 season. Gordon announced on his Twitter account that he was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers. Gordon averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, while shooting 64.5 percent, in six preseason games.
Kirk’s former Lobo teammates in Chicago, meanwhile, have been sitting comfortably on the Bulls 14-man roster for more than a week now. Chicago made its final cuts Oct. 18, and guard Tony Snell, a first-round draft pick in 2013, and forward Cameron Bairstow, a second-round pick in June, were both included.
NBA teams have until 3 p.m. MDT Monday to cut rosters to 15 for the regular season. Teams can suit up 13 players per game, but carry up to 15 players under contract at one time.
The Bulls open the regular season Wednesday on the road against the New York Knicks. The Cavs open Thursday at home, also against the Knicks.