Cavaliers are close to a contract agreement with Parker

A-ParkerThe Cavaliers are close to making their first free agent move this off season. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers have agreed to the structure of a contract with Toronto’s guard Anthony Paker and the deal is expected to be completed in the next several days.

Anthony Parker played for the Raptors for the past three season and averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point range.

He is 6-6, athletics and effective at creating his own shot. He fits the description for the long swing player the team has been looking for and he is effective defensively and can guard long wing players which proven to be a problem for the Cavaliers last season against the Magic.

Also, according to league sources, the Cavaliers are very close to signing Varejao to a long term contract.

How New Salary Cap Might Impact the summer of 2010

Lebron James vs Hawks Game 1The NBA released a memo warning NBA teams that the salary cap is estimated to drop to somewhere between $50.4 million and $53.6 million for the 2010-11 season. That’s a drop of $5 to $8 million from last season’s salary cap of $58.7 million.

Leagues officials estimate that if basketball-related-income, or BRI as it is referred to in the NBA, drops by 2.5 percent in 2009-10 season, then the salary cap will be set at $53.6 million and a luxury-tax line of $65 million.

If BRI drops by as much as 5 percent, then teams would be looking at a $50.4 million salary cap and a luxury-tax line of $61.2 million in 2010-11.

What does this mean for Lebron James?

The new figures for 2009-10 season just announced by the league have set the salary cap at $57.7 million per team, that’s only down $1 million from $58.7 from 2008-09.

Lebron James can sign a contract extension with the Cavaliers that would pay him the max based on the 2009-10 season which would pay him around $17.3 million per year.

If Lebron James decides to wait until the summer of 2010:

Free agents such as Lebron James, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Toronto’s Chris Bosh might have to reconsider because of the potential declines in cap space for external bidders, and more teams straying into luxury-tax territory.

If BRI drops by as much as 2.5 percent and the salary cap is set at $53.6 million, then the max a team can pay is around $16 million per year. If BRI drops by 5 percent and the salary cap is set at $50.4 million then the max a team can pay is a little over $15 million, which is only one million dollar more than what Lebron James is currently paid ($14.4 million).

This will also hinder the ability for teams who have been saving for the summer of 2010, including the Cavaliers, to sign more than one player to a max contract. The Knicks, for example will be restricted to signing one maximum-salaried player that summer which will only increase the Cavaliers chances to resigning James. New York’s original plan to lure James was founded upon trying to sign James and a second marquee free agent in 2010 such as Chris Bosh.

This is good news and bad news for the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are also rumored to be targeting Chris Bosh next summer. If these estimates hold true, then our chances of getting Bosh or another marquee player are slim.

Luxury Tax Payments Due:

  1. New York ($23,736,207)
  2. Dallas ($23,611,661)
  3. Cleveland ($13,707,010)
  4. Boston ($8,294,664)
  5. Los Angeles Lakers ($7,185,631)
  6. Portland ($5,899,356)
  7. Phoenix ($4,918,136)

Lebron tells free agents he plans to stay with the Cavalier

According to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, quoting an unnamed source close to Ariza, says LeBron James told free-agent forward Trevor Ariza that he plans to remain in Cleveland after his contract expires in 2010.

“Trevor asked LeBron if he would be in Cleveland after next season,” the source said. “And LeBron said, ‘I’ll be there. Of course, I’ll be there.'”

Cavs general manager Danny Ferry and head coach Mike Brown flew to Los Angeles and met with Ariza on Sunday.

Ariza received telephone calls from James and Shaquille O’Neal but he opted to stay with the Rockets.

Ariza who had already accepted a five-year, $33.5 million offer from the Rockets last Thursday received telephone calls from James and Shaquille O’Neal but as of now, he remains committed to the Rockets.

According to the article, many factors led to Ariza’s decision to remain with the Rockets:
“First, his toddler son lives in Los Angeles with his mother and Ariza liked that Houston was a much shorter flight than Cleveland. Second, Adelman promised him the Rockets would feature him offensively while the Cavaliers refused to guarantee him a starting job. Instead, the Cavs told him he’d be given a legitimate chance to compete for the spot against last year’s starter, Delonte West.”

Shaq is on a mission: “Win a Ring For The King”

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Shaquille O'Neal as a CavaliersThe Cleveland Cavaliers debuted Shaquille O’Neal today and the Cleveland Clinics training facility in Independence, Ohio. Shaq made it known many times during the press conference that he is here to help the city and the King get over the hump and win a championship.

“My motto is very simple,” O’Neal said. “‘Win a Ring for the King.”

O’Neal has one season at $21 million left on a five-year, $100 million contract. However, early in his remarks he said, “I’ve got three years left in my career,” perhaps an initial attempt to persuade the Cavaliers to extend his deal past 2010.

“I have a lot left,” he said. “There’s only four or five good centers in the league and I’m in that number. … I’ve been in it [the NBA] for 17 years but I’ve missed three years because of injury. If you do the math, I’ve still got three years left. You got that?”

“I would love an extension, who wouldn’t?” he said, flashing his easy smile. “If they offer me a $35 million-a-year extension, I’ll sign it right now. I won’t even read the contract. I’m just here to take care of business and I know can help give the city what it’s looking for.”

He knows that he is here to help the Cavs win a championship and has no issue sharing the spotlight with Lebron James.

“It’s LeBron’s team,” he said. “He’s the captain. This is the time in my career where I can fit in. I’m now in the security business. My job is to protect the King, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

O’Neal is confident  that if James wins his first title in Cleveland, he’ll stay around for more.

“In a perfect world and we win and take care of business, he has no choice but to stay here,” O’Neal said. “If we do what we came here to do, everything will fall into place.”

Artest to sign with the Lakers

Kobe Bryant and Ron ArtestThe Los Angeles Lakers are close to reaching an agreement with Houston forward Ron Artest, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Artest, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to agree to terms Thursday after spending the day meeting with Lakers executives.

In a text message to on Thursday night, Artest wrote: “I am happy to say I am goin’ to L.A.”

ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reports that Artest and the Lakers have reached a verbal agreement on what is believed to be a three-year contract worth an estimated $18 million. Wednesday is the first day free agents are permitted to sign new deals.

Artest was initially courted by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to other reports, the Cavaliers have interest in Trevor Ariza and Rasheed Wallace. However, it was reported that the Celtics sent the big three to meet with him (I am not sure if he is worth that much).

Also, according to Associated Press, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey met with the free agent in Las Vegas in hopes to recruit the Lakers forward to Houston.

Cavaliers options are not many at this point. They might look into a sign and trade for Wally Szczerbiak or Anderson Varejao.

Lebron and the Cavaliers are recruiting Artest

In an interesting move, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in contact with Ron Artest, even Lebron James talked with him according to the Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst. Ron and Artest met in Los Angeles last Tuesday.

Artest’s agent has expressed that he has a desire to play in Cleveland. The Cavaliers might be able to get him with the mid-level exception which is aroun $5.6 million. Some believe the Cavaliers will try to offer him a one year deal but Artest is looking for a multi-year deal.

Also, ESPN reported that the Pistons came to agreement with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Gordon will receive a five-year, $55 million deal, while former Bucks forward Villanueva gets a five-year deal for $40 million

Christian Eyenga very athletic but need to add bulk

Christian EyengaThis is what I believe, that Christian Eyenga was such an eye opener, that at the NBA Draft, they did not have a name plate for him as he was being suggested as a 2nd round pick or thought to have not been picked at all. He is raw, but very athletic. The Cavaliers do not have a spot for him and can keep him in Spain for a while. While watching video of him last night, he seemed to need some more bulk to be able to handle the wear and tear of the regular season.

On to Danny Green of UNC. He is a tough defender who gives the Cavs added length wihch will be needed on the defensive end. Danny is a tough defender who may not give you a ton of offense, but is a ball hawk who makes up for his limited offense with great defensive intensity.

Here is Chad Ford, of ESPN’s analysis.
Round 1: Christian Eyenga (30)Round 2: Danny Green (46, via Bulls), Emir Preldzic (57, obtained from Cavs via Magic and Thunder)

Analysis: Danny Ferry was obviously eyeing the future when he reached for Eyenga. He’s been compared to Mickael Pietrus as an athlete and defender but he’s really raw and not ready. Green is more polished and an underrated find. Prezldic is a Euro project who may pay off.
I have to say I’m a little surprised the Cavs didn’t go for a player like Sam Young or DeJuan Blair who could’ve helped them right away. I thought the future was now in Cleveland.

Overall Grade: B-

Cavs Draft 2009

Welcome back kids to my annual NBA draft article.  Last year I missed by having the Cavs taking Roy Hibbert.  Turns out that I was on the right track, but they took little known JJ Hickson instead.  JJ ended up being a bit of a disappointment once he could not crack Mike Brown’s rotation.  Once he did, he injured his back and is still out and will not be able to play Summer League ball in Las Vegas like he did last year.  Surgery is not an option at this point, according to Cavs sources.

Now on to this year’s draft.  Many have stated that there are few big men that are worthy of a first round pick.  This is both point guard and shooting guard heavy.  Look for at least 12 players in the first round to be one of these two positions.  The Cavs, according to the Plain Dealer, have looked closely at Patrick Mills (St. Mary’s College), Nick Calathes (Florida), and Toney Douglas (Florida St.).  All 3 can play the point. 

Here is a quick breakdown of all 3:

 Patrick Mills is probably the most complete player of the three.  He had an injury which kept him out the end of the year and which cost his team a spot in the NCAA tournament.  Many teams question his point guard leadership, yet the team won over 25 games with him in the lineup.

Nick Calathes is a 6’5” point guard who left Florida early to sign with a Greek powerhouse team.  The Cavs would own the rights to him and could have him play overseas for a few years before bringing him over. 

Toney Douglas is a 6’1” 200 lbs of pure muscle.  He has come on a lot as of late and had his best season this past year, his senior year.  He averaged 21.5 points per game and was a scoring machine for Leonard Hamilton down at Tallahassee. 

For me, after the Cavs have made the move for Shaq, as multiple sources have reported, they do not have to go after a big man.  Let me remind everyone, that we still have Darnell Jackson and JJ Hickson as well as Joe Smith, Anderson Varejao, and big Z.  Therefore, the Cavs can look to go with a Small Forward or a guard since the Cavs are not impressed with the ball handling of Delonte West and Daniel Gibson who are both undersized Shooting Guards.  Look for the Cavs, if they keep the pick at number 30 to try to get an overseas player.  I am defying the odds since Danny Ferry can do a number like the Spurs did with Manu Ginobili.  Have a player play overseas (a la Omri Casspi or Jonas Jerebko) for a few years and bring them over in 2010 or 2011 along with the big free agent’s who will become available after the upcoming season. 

There are many rumors also that the Cavs may look to trade up.  If the Cavs do decide to get into mid teens to the low 20s, look for them to get Ty Lawson or Patrick Mills. 

I have one request for Danny Ferry.  Please do not get Tyler Hansborough.  He will be a bench player and a spot starter.  He works hard, but is not an elite player at the NBA level.  Think of another UNC player who was a bombout.  Like a better version of Brendan Haywood.  Better Offensively, but limited overall.