Over the last two weeks, LeBron James has turned into an epic Voltron of Urban Myer, John Calipari and Korn Ferry International when it comes to recruiting players to join him in Miami. Not long after locking up veterans Mike Miller and Zyrdunas Ilgauskas, James has reportedly set his sights on a younger player in Cleveland’s Jawad Williams.
Unlike Miller and Ilgauskas, Williams is a restricted free agent which allows the Cavaliers to match any offers made by the Heat. Given the differing salary cap situations of the two franchises and the fact that Williams would be in for key minutes at the small forward position in 2010-11, it is anticipated that the Cavaliers would match any realistic offer that the Cleveland product would receive.
Cavs fans may be able to let go of Ilgauskas given what he has done for the franchise over the last 14 seasons, but this move will undoubtedly not sit well. As a Western Conference executive told The Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst earlier this week, James has done “more recruiting in the last five days than he did in the last three years.” Given that Williams is from the Glenville area and went to St. Ed’s for high school, this report definitely hits closer to home.
Williams averaged 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds in 13 minutes per game in 2009-10. He played in 54 games, essentially fighting for minutes and a rotation spot with Jamario Moon. It is assumed that James’ exit will allow considerable playing time for both players in 2010-11.
Missing out on free agent after free agent in Cleveland, Danny Ferry was forced to make trades to acquire assets. With James waiting until July 8 to make his announcement, the team missed out on several possible additions who had agreed to terms with other teams. Chris Grant and his staff made a qualified offer to point guard Kyle Lowry, but the Houston Rockets were quick to match.
The Cavaliers have been rumored to be interested in point guards Michael Conley and Ramon Sessions. Other names that have recently been added to the mix are swingmen Ronald “Flip” Murray, Ronnie Brewer, Antoine Wright and Rasual Butler.