SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors have acquired forward Cleanthony Early (via Westchester), the returning player rights of Nick Covington (via Westchester), and the returning player rights of Ronnie Aguilar (via Texas) in a three-team trade with the Westchester Knicks and Texas Legends, the team announced today. In exchange, the Texas Legends receive Santa Cruz’s 2017 NBA D-League Draft 2nd and 3rd round picks, the returning player rights of Verdell Jones III, and the returning player rights of Joe Alexander. In this trade, Westchester acquired Courtney Fells and the returning player rights of Justin Martin via the Texas Legends
Cleanthony Early (6-8, 210-lb) was selected in the second round (34th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and appeared in 39 games his rookie season, averaging 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds over 16.6 minutes per game. He averaged 1.8 points in 17 games during his second NBA season in 2015-16, a year shortened by a right knee injury.
During 2016 NBA Summer League with the New York Knicks, he averaged 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in five games. He was later signed by the New York Knicks on Oct. 18, 2016 before being designated to Westchester.
Early became the Westchester Knicks’ first-ever NBA assignee on Jan. 30, 2015 and averaged 20.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in three games for Westchester during the 2014–15 season. He was assigned to Westchester on four occasions during the 2015-16 season for a season average of 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. He was one of four players in history to appear in both a D-League and NBA game in the same day (Dec. 2, 2015).
Early averaged a career 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game at Wichita State and was named first team All-Missouri Valley Conference and MVC Newcomer of the Year. He led the team to the NCAA Final Four following an undefeated 34-0 record and averaged 16.4 points on 48.6 percent shooting and 5.9 rebounds his senior year.