NBA Free Agency has begun. Omer Asik has been offered a contract valued at over $2.68 million per point averaged last season (avg’d 3.1 ppg, contract 3 yrs 25.1M). Roy Hibbert received a contract offer equivalent to what LeBron is being paid. Dwight Howard wants to be traded because he reportedly feels he’s been blackmailed into picking up his final year with Orlando, and our guy Gody already received a qualifying offer. Which leads me to the Cavaliers who extended that offer to Luke on Friday.
So far, the list of Free Agents being targeted by the Cavaliers looks like this as far as I can tell:
Alonzo Gee: The Cavaliers extended a $2.7 million qualifying offer to swingman Alonzo Gee on Friday, meaning the team can match any offer he receives in order to keep the restricted free agent. Gerald Wallace is a 6-7 SF who’s 29 years old. He averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds last season. The Brooklyn Nets just offered Wallace 4 years, $40 million. I can’t see paying Gee more than the $4 million per year we discussed back in May, but somebody might. Things are crazy out there right now.
Luke Harangody: The Cavs made a $1 million qualifying offer to forward Luke Harangody on Friday as well. He won’t get any other offers, most likely, but a guaranteed million is a job well done for our favorite flat-top wearing Forward. He put in some serious work last season, and it seems he might be rewarded for that by way of one million dollars to play basketball. For what it’s worth, Gody also has ties to first round pick Tyler Zeller. Tyler’s oldest brother Luke Zeller also played at Notre Dame when Harangody was there.
Semih Erden: The Cavs extended a qualifying offer to center Semih Erden too, General Manager Chris Grant announced from Cleveland Clinic Courts on Saturday. Per league and team policy, terms of the offer were not announced. By extending qualifying offers to each player (Gee, Gody, Erden) prior to June 30, Cleveland owns the right to match any offer sheet they may sign with another team. Here’s one thing on Erden before you talk about how he won’t get any offers: He averaged 3.5 points per game last season. Asik averaged 3.1. He’s tall, and therefore somebody else will make an offer to Semih also – bet on that.
Jonny Flynn: After being traded from Houston last season, Flynn finished the year out with the Blazers. I attended a couple of his workouts in the Cleveland area last month. The latest report linking Flynn with the Cavaliers reads like this from CSNNW.com: The unrestricted free agent point guard, Jonny Flynn, has received interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks, a source tells CSNNW.com. Currently the mutual interest is in its beginning stages and no visits have been arranged for the former Syracuse Orangemen standout as of yet. The free-agency period began today and Flynn must wait for the high-profile point guards to find landing spots before more teams begin calling regarding his services. Flynn is only 23 years old and has career averages of 9.2 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds per game. Those aren’t good numbers for a guy drafted in the top-5, but as a back-up PG? I’d be interested in Flynn for that role in Cleveland.Sonny Weems: Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico tweeted yesterday that Small Forward Sonny Weems is drawing interest from the Cavaliers. Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld also added that the Celtics, Clippers, and Pistons have shown interest in addition to the Cavs. Weems is a 6-6 Forward who managed his way through the Lockout last season by playing overseas. He proved himself as an NBA player during his time as a Toronto Raptor though, and would be a solid option at SF for the Cavaliers. I’m not sure if he’s being viewed as a back-up plan to Alonzo Gee, in the event somebody does throw $6 mil-plus at Gee, or if Weems would be a compliment to Gee, Kevin Jones? and Omri Casspi. That seems like too many SF’s, but who knows at this point.
As far as where the Cavaliers contract / roster situation currently stands as a team right now, our good friend Ben Cox put it in laymen’s terms over the weekend when he posted the following at WFNY:
Cleveland’s roster currently looks something like this:
PG – Kyrie Irving
SG – Dion Waiters, Daniel Gibson
SF – Omri Casspi, Luke Walton, *Kelenna Azubuike
PF – Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, *Kevin Jones
C – Tyler Zeller Restricted
FAs: Alonzo Gee, Semih Erden, Luke Harangody.
Unrestricted FAs: Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Donald Sloan, Samardo Samuels, DJ Kennedy.
NBA rosters hold 15 spots and the Cavs (counting rookies and restricted FAs) currently have 13 of those spots spoken for (though I’d be mildly surprised if both Erden and Harangody returned). The Cavaliers could use another wing to stretch the floor (preferably athletic), a PG to backup Kyrie Irving and a big who can hit a shot from outside of 15 feet.
The Cavs have somewhere in the area of $21 million in available caproom, but they don’t have use all of it. I had originally thought that they might have to overpay some guy just to meet the salary floor, but while Baron Davis’s bloated, amnesty’d contract doesn’t count against Cleveland’s cap,it does count against their salary floor. So no dumb signing just to meet the floor! Whew!
To follow up with what Ben said, I think it’s Erden who doesn’t re-sign with the Cavaliers. You watch, Erden’s going to get way more money than any of you think. Asik is better, a lot better, but if he is worth almost $8.5 million for three years than Semih is worth $3 million at least. Just being real in the unreal world of NBA Free Agency.
On Azubuike, Jones, Lighty, Sloan, and Samardo:
I put those asterisks next to Kelenna Azubuike and Kevin Jones in order to note first that Azubuike came over in the Tyler Zeller trade from the Mavericks on Draft night. He didn’t play last season, but was a solid bench player for the Mavs back when he was healthy a couple years ago. I’m waiting to see how healthy he is before projecting him into next season’s rotation for the Cavs. As of now, he might not be in it at all. He has the potential to be an 8th or 9th man if healthy though, assuming there’s no move made for Weems, and then Jones doesn’t kill it in training camp. More on Kelenna later.
Kevin Jones is an undrafted rookie from West Virginia that some people thought would go late first round or early second. Most thought he’d be at least drafted. He wasn’t, though, but he tweeted out that he signed with the Cavaliers over the weekend. Good move by the Cavs I think. If they took him at 33 or 34 I don’t think anybody would’ve been upset. The primary reason he did go undrafted, in my opinion, is the same reason Tyler Zeller “fell to 17″ according to the Cavaliers. Speaking on Zeller specifically, the Cavs (Byron Scott and Chris Grant on Friday) said he fell only because he was a college senior. Jones was as productive as any college player actually could be during his time in West Virginia, and also played until his senior season. Which is probably why he dropped, even though he averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game while being named 2nd Team All American last season for the Mountaineers.
At this point, one other guy I’d like to see targeted by the Cavaliers is David Lighty. The Dion Waiters pick might hurt his cause, but the team will have to make a decision on Shooting Guard Daniel Gibson’s team option soon. That decision might help Lighty’s chances in Cleveland, or it might hurt. More on that later. If the Cavaliers don’t sign Jonny Flynn, I have no problem bringing back Donald Sloan and giving him a chance to back-up Kyrie. Hopefully they bring back my man Samardo Samuels too, who’s killing it for Jamaica right now in the Centro-Basket Tournament.