April 23, 2014

The Rumors Of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

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.

  • Ricky

    Like I said in a previous post, if there were no restricted free agency, Delonte would be able to force the Cavs into offering more by being able to just seriously consider another offer from an NBA team. It would be a much more open market approach, which the capitalist inside of me wants. Most teams could only offer the MLE, but most players probably don’t deserve that anyways. It would be like a max contract for role players

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Nice job Rock…

  • Chris

    Ferry needs to get it done or he’ll get fired.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    @Ricky: You mean it’s like baseball? :)

  • http://blog.cleveland.com/andone Carolyn

    Nice post, Rock. I posted about the same issue but not nearly in such detail.

  • Hoy

    I wonder how less “far less” is. 2 mil, 3 mil? It sucks when you don’t have hard numbers to look at. I’m not sure who to be frustrated with right now. I became a huge fan of Delonte last season and really want to see him stick with this organization for the long run, however he hasn’t proven himself worth the big $$$ yet either.

    All hes got going for him is ‘starting point guard’ which is valid, however its no secret the Cavs are going to look to make a big move this season before the deadline, so while he may be the starter right now that may not be the long term case.

    Ideally I’d like to see him sign short term now (maybe 4 mil a year? for 2) and then prove himself this season and renegotiate a longer deal later, and if he doesn’t prove himself that shouldn’t be a hard contract to trade.

  • Ricky

    I agree he hasn’t earned the big bucks quite yet, but I would be nervous about him being an unrestricted free agent in a couple of years. I wouldn’t mind them paying him more than they paid Gibson just to make sure that they get this done

  • K Dawg

    My guess is that the negotiations have been slowed in some form due to Gibson’s deal. I’m not positive the Cavs feel comfortable giving Delonte more money or years than they gave Boobie – i.e., they see Gibson as a key piece of the team (even if as a shooter off the bench) but they’re not so sure on Delonte, even though he is a starter in name. I would imagine that his camp would feel a starter deserves more.

    Then again, I don’t foresee a holdout either.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com FilteringCraig

    The Cavs are playing this right. They are in the driver’s seat with this one. West needs to weigh the options between long term security and just playing out one more year to risk getting to unrestricted status.

    If I were Delonte’s agent, I would tell him to play a one-year deal with the best player in the league to maximize his value for his unrestricted status next season.

    Of course as a Cavs fan, I don’t want to see that. Delonte can be a very good player, kind of like a poor man’s Mike Bibby. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and some serious intensity. I really hope they don’t cave and give him too much money though. He is still a risk.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    K-Dawg I agree about comparing Delonte to Gibson. Daniel very much is part of the team’s future, where I think Delonte still has something to prove to the Cavs. I think the Cavs still would like to pursue a veteran PG through trade, or perhaps free agency next summer, and aren’t sure that they want to offer Delonte much. No way that Delonte gets a deal for more money or years than Gibson. I’d be surprised if the Cavs weren’t trying to offer a one year deal to Delonte. Two at the most.

  • http://mvn.com/nba-cavaliers Amar Panchmatia

    Did someone say “Mike Bibby?”

  • http://mvn.com/nba-cavaliers Amar Panchmatia

    Did anybody see Andris Biedrins got $63 million for SIX YEARS??? He pretty much got Dan Fegan money. I mean, are you freaking kidding me? $63 million for Andris Biedrins? Now, I hate Varejao, his agent, and his wrestler brother as much as the next guy, but the first thing I thought of when I heard that is that Varejao must be pissed beyond belief. Here he is with the midlevel exception for two years, looking like a beggar who got slapped in the face while signing an offer sheet with the Bobcats, and then a guy who averaged 10.5 and 9.8 with free throw shooting far worse than his gets $63 million.

    That’s just hilarious. Who knows what happens from here on out in the Anderson Varejao Saga. But that’s just great.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Amar- that’s what happens when teams still have money to spend after the good free agents are gone…you end up seeing deals like that. Tell me they won’t be crying about that contract in 2 years!

  • Shaun

    He’ll be the Theo Ratliff of 2014. How exciting for him!

  • http://mvn.com/nba-cavaliers Amar Panchmatia

    We’ve already begun the countdown to “Andris Biedrins’ Expiring Contract” status. Congrats, Golden State!

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