Once thought to be the missing piece of a championship contender, forward Antawn Jamison could be looking at a role off of the bench with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. Newly hired head coach Byron Scott spoke with NBATV’s Rick Kamla during Tuesday’s opening game of the Cavaliers Las Vegas Summer League, and it sounds like the 33-year-old Jamison may be featured as a sixth man for the third time in his 13-year career.
Jamison’s versatility allows Scott to move him between the two forward positions, but Scott seemed adamant that JJ Hickson will be the team’s starting power forward come late October. In his first season of true opportunity with the team, Hickson started 73 of 81 regular season games, averaging 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes of play. In spots of play when LeBron James would be resting or playing a point guard-like role, then head coach Mike Brown would move Jamison to the small forward spot to take advantage of his size on would-be smaller opponents.
Not discussed, however, is whether or not this role is something that would be accepted by Jamison.
Following his mid-February trade to Cleveland, forward Antawn Jamison said, “It [would] be tough for me to be part of a rebuilding stage. My window of opportunity is not a wide-open window. I wanted to take advantage of it.”
Unfortunately, after only 25 regular season games and a premature exit from the playoffs, it appears that Jamsion could find himself in yet another bind when it comes to achieving his goal of winning a championship. Despite team owner Dan Gilbert’s pledge to win one before the Miami Heat, logic says that the Cavaliers may have a year or two of reloading (rather than rebuilding) before they will be considered contenders once again.
As a member of the rebuilding Wizards prior to his trade to Cleveland, Jamison averaged 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes of work. While these numbers are now within reach once again, the team may prefer to move the remaining two years and $28 million left on Jamison’s contract for pieces that could potentially be in Cleveland for the long term.
As it stands at this point in July, Jamison and teammate Mo Williams appear locked to be the leading scoring options for the 2010-11 Cavaliers.
If Jamison were to come off of the bench, as he did several years ago as a member of the Dallas Mavericks where he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award, the Cavaliers – as currently constructed – would be looking at either Jamario Moon or Danny Green as a starting small forward. Jamison would seemingly provide veteran leadership as well as a strong scoring threat off of the bench with the rest of the second unit.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)