Delonte West Heading To Russia? Not So Fast, My Friend…
Never underestimate the desperate ploys of a desperate agent. When it’s your job to get your clients the most amount of money as you can, it can sometimes cause you to try unorthodox methods. The latest unorthodox method has been to threaten sending your client to Europe. Evidently, this is the case even when there’s no truth behind your threat whatsoever.
We’ve been lamenting the lack of quality Cavaliers coverage from the local newspapers lately, and this is precisely why. Bob Finnan of the Morning Journal and News Herald has stepped up big time in bringing us this story. In the Morning Journal today, Finnan tells us the Yahoo! Sports rumor of Delonte West getting an offer from the Russian team Dynamo Moscow is flat out false. He writes,
“However, Cavaliers point guard Delonte West probably won’t be joining them. An Internet report saying he received a lucrative offer from Dynamo Moscow in Russia is false.
Nachbar, who played in New Jersey last year, recently signed a three-year, $14.3 million deal with Dynamo. That pretty much ate up the rest of Dynamo’s payroll.
Besides, they already have a pretty good point guard in former Oklahoma star Hollis Price.
When contacted yesterday, Cavs general manager Danny Ferry said as per team policy, he wouldn’t comment on negotiations.
But what he could have said was the Internet report was bogus. How would he know? He was in Moscow yesterday and spoke to Dynamo coach David Blatt.
Agents bluff everyday in this free-agent process. Perhaps West’s agents have talked to teams overseas, but there are only a few teams in Europe that can make a splash like Olympiacos in Greece, who signed former Hawks forward Childress to a three-year, $20 million deal on Thursday.”
Delonte West is represented by Noah Croom of Goodwin Sports Management. Aaron Goodwin was LeBron’s first agent, and he has always seemingly had a good relationship with the Cavaliers, so it was a little surprising, to me anyway, to read about this tactic.
Now, to be fair, Adrian Wojnarowski never explicitly said this info came from Delonte’s agent, but from “a source close to West”. If you read between the lines, though, who else is going to be a source close to Delonte that is going to be calling up Adrian Wojnarowski and leaking this kind of information to him?
Not that I blame West’s agents, either. According to Finnan, the Cavaliers are stubbornly playing hardball with Delonte,
“The 6-foot-3, 180-pound West is a restricted free agent who has been locked in negotiations with the Cavs since July 1. And, by the way, the negotiations have not been going very smoothly.
A source said the Cavs’ offer is far less than the mid-level exception of $5.6 million. Since there are only a couple teams with enough money to pay more than the mid-level, there is no market pressure on the Cavs to do so.
However, he is their starting point guard.
The Cavs have probably told West’s representatives to go out and find an offer sheet. Because he’s restricted, though, other teams are reluctant to make a formal offer.”
This is exactly what we were talking about the other day. It’s a tough world out there for restricted free agents these days. It’s hard to really blame either side. The players and agents are trying to make as much money as they can in their profession (just as we all tend to do in our own professions), while the teams are trying to protect their own interests and trying to pay as little upfront for their investments as they can (again, just as we all tend to do in our own personal lives). It makes perfect sense for Danny Ferry to keep playing hardball with Delonte because Ferry knows he has the market on his side. It makes sense for Delonte’s camp to keep trying new methods to swing market interest back on their side.
No matter what happens in this, I just hope the Cavaliers can avoid the worst-case-scenario. And no, the worst thing that could happen would not be Delonte going to Europe. If Delonte went to Europe, at least then the Cavaliers would know and could start looking for plan B now already. Rather, the worst thing that could happen would be to have Delonte hold out. In that case, it would be another huge preseason distraction a la Anderson Varejao last year. And like last year, it would prevent the Cavaliers from knowing if/when they were going to have a key member of their rotation and it would ruin any chance for the team to build some cohesion in the preseason so as to be ready to go right from the opening bell. The Cavs have been through that once, they don’t need to do so again this year. Both sides need to hurry up and find a way to reach a suiting compromise so the Cavaliers can go into training camp healthy, fully loaded, united, and ready to get the season started off right.