As we’ve already discussed, technically no free agents are off the market until they sign contracts starting tomorrow. However, if we make the assumption that players stick to their verbal agreements then who is left for the Cavaliers to get?
We’re going to call the following free agents off the market. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva (Pistons), Hedo Turkoglu (Raptors), Ron Artest (Lakers), Trevor Ariza (Rockets), Jason Kidd (Mavs), Rasheed Wallace (Celtics), Marcin Gortat (Mavs), Mike Bibby (Hawks). Shawn Marion is reportedly very close to being a Maverick as well. There is a group of players that haven’t agreed to terms with anyone, but are going to be more expensive than the Cavs can afford with the cap. That group includes David Lee, Paul Milsap and Lamar Odom. Could there be a sign and trade with one of those players? Possibly, but not likely. (No chance with Odom.)
So who does that leave? First you have to look at former Cavs looking for contracts.
Anderson Varejao is the big name here. Since opting out of his deal last week, there have been zero reports of anyone contacting or even interested in Andy outside of Cleveland. Varejao turned down $6 million to test the free agent waters, but might be wise to revisit that figure with the Cavaliers. The Cavs have been looking at more athletic PFs in free agency so far, which might suggest that they are willing to let Andy walk away from the team. However, they have yet to sign one of these players. I’m of the opinion that Andy is still a great fit for this team. In fact I believe that opportunities for easy baskets would increase for Andy with Shaq’s presence in the post. Andy is good at moving without the ball and finding the right lane for passers.
Wally Szczerbiak is also a free agent, and like Andy the phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook we imagine. We saw the first reports yesterday from Brian Windhorst that the Cavs are interested in bringing Wally back. One thing is certain, Wally is going to take one whopper of a pay cut this year. Wally can still shoot the basketball, which is really the only thing the Cavs would be bringing him back for.
Joe Smith would probably love another chance with the team, but the drafting of Danny Green probably means the end of the line for Smith. Joe had a rough postseason after the Pistons series, and was abused by the Magic.
Now for the rest of the group the Cavs could be looking at-
Marvin Williams, SF Atlanta- Williams is a restricted free agent, and most would expect the Hawks to match an offer for Williams (specially if it was just for the MLE, which is all Cleveland could offer. There would be a chance the Hawks would let him go, after signing Bibby and potentially having to to throw large chunks of cash at Josh Smith.
Channing Frye, PF Portland- TD did a good job talking about Frye earlier today. I’ll simply throw my 2 cents in and say that signing Frye to the full MLE would be a mistake. Frye’s point and rebound totals have dropped every year he’s been in the league. Obviously his playing time hurt him last year, but if he was really worth $5 million a year wouldn’t he be able to get more than 11 minutes a game? One thing that Frye has going for him is that the Cavs have reportedly tried to trade for him in the past. Ferry can stubborn in his pursuit of a player that he feels would be a good fit (Delonte West.)
Linas Kleiza, SF Denver- Kleiza, another restricted free agent is likely to walk away from the Nuggets without a matching offer. The Nuggets have been pursuing their own free agent Chris Anderson, and more than likely don’t have room for Kleiza as well. He isn’t a great outside shooter, which might be more of what the Cavs would be looking for from a 6’8″ swingman. He does have a decent mid-range shot, and can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. Defensively, the Cavs could do better.
Antonio McDyess, PF Detroit- You have to wonder what McDyess was thinking walking off the floor after the Cavaliers swept the Pistons in the first round, and did it convincingly. McDyess was set free in mid-season after the Iverson trade and could have accepted the Cavs’ offer to play for a contender. Instead McDyess chose to stay where he was comfortable, and witnessed one ugly season. He played well though, and you have to imagine there is enough left in the tank for one more run. He will turn 35 in the upcoming season, and that would certainly give the Cavs one of the oldest front courts in the league with 37 year old Shaq and 34 year old Zydrunas.
Josh Childress, SG Atlanta- Childress played in Greece last year when contract talks broke down with Atlanta. Well, the Hawks still have rights to match any deal Childress signs. A somewhat streaky shooter, Childress would be a great addition to the Cavs. He is a tough match-up for traditional shooting guards, and could play the 3 in a small line-up. The Hawks will most likely match an offer for at least one of their UFA, and you would imagine Williams would be that player. Could Childress be had with the MLE?
Matt Barnes, SF Phoenix- WFNY readers probably know that I think Barnes is a great fit for this team. He is athletic and can get to the rim. Defense hasn’t been something he’s known for, but on the other hand he hasn’t exactly played for teams that preach defense (Golden State, Phoenix, Sacramento and the Knicks.) Would the team have to use the full MLE for Barnes? Probably not, which makes him more attractive to me.
Anthony Parker, SG Toronto- Parker is another player that has been on the Cavs’ radar for a while. With the signing of Hedo Turkoglu it appears that Parker will be let go. Another aging veteran, Parker can still hit the outside shot but can’t create it on his own. He doesn’t fit the ‘athletic swing man’ role that the Cavs are looking for defensively, but if they secure another player to fill that bill Parker could be a dangerous spot up shooter.
Other free agents the Cavs could take a look at include Dahntay Jones, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis (restricted), and Leon Powe.