It was a rare day for Los Alamos sports in August when the Cleveland Cavaliers signed native Alex Kirk to a multi-year deal.
Kirk, a former standout Los Alamos High School basketball player who went on to become a standout player for the University of New Mexico, agreed to a free agent deal with the NBA’s Cavaliers and spent a brief time with the team in the early part of the 2014-15 season before going down to the Cavaliers’ development league team, Canton.
Playing for a major sports organization is something very few in Los Alamos history have achieved, and it made the 7-foot Kirk the biggest local sports story of the year.
Although the terms of his deal weren’t disclosed, it was believed he signed for a rookie minimum contract, one that is still worth half a million dollars if the contract terms are fulfilled.
With his signing, he became the first Los Alamos athlete to play in a major North American sports league since Walt Arnold played in the NFL in the 1980s.
Kirk actually left school a year before his athletic eligibility was up — he started several games his true freshman year in 2010-11, but fractured his foot that year and was given a medical redshirt for the balance of the season. He could’ve played this season with the Lobos, and undoubtedly would’ve been very useful on the roster, but elected to leave to try his luck in the NBA draft.
The June draft came and went without Kirk’s name being called, but he did receive an invitation to play on Cleveland’s Summer League team for the NBA’s tournament in Las Vegas shortly after the draft.
Kirk fared reasonably well in the Summer League tournament playing with the Cavs, prior to getting signed with the team.
He appeared in two games this season, which started in late October, before being optioned to the Canton (Ohio). He was brought up again to play for Cleveland in late November but was sent back a few days later in early December.
In his time in D-League, a total of 13 games, Kirk is averaging 16.6 points a game, second best on the Charge, along with better than 7 rebounds.