Just last week, we pondered the future of Jawad Williams with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not even five days later, Williams’ agent tells the Plain Dealer that his client will be suiting up for the Wine and Gold during the 2010-11 season.
A restricted free agent, Williams had reportedly been hoping to land a multi-year contract with the Cavaliers. Even going as far as working out with other NBA teams and being recruited by former teammate LeBron James in Miami, Williams put his demands aside for the time being and accepted the team’s qualifying offer of $1.02 million.
Though the contract is not fully guaranteed, Williams will immediately enter the starting small forward talks, likely sharing time with Jamario Moon and the newly acquired Joey Graham. However, one swing player who this contract may negatively impact in terms of his minutes with the Cavaliers is last season’s first-round draft selection Christian Eyenga.
Eyenga continues to be a player who the team feels is among the top five percent in terms of athleticism throughout the entire NBA. Where he lacks is in polished NBA skills, including but not limited to his shooting and defensive assignments. Eyenga lit up the highlight reel during the 2010 summer league with a bevy of fast-break slam dunks and blocked shots, but missed several assignments on the defensive end and is still considered to be very “raw.”
With the addition of Williams to the roster, the Cavaliers will be able to afford sending Eyenga to the Developmental League where he can play consistent minutes, work on the still-existing language barrier, and simply hone the skill set that made the Cavaliers’ front office salivate like Pavlov’s dog prior to selecting him 30th overall in 2009, the same one that should ultimately fit in very well with Byron Scott’s fast-paced offense. The team’s contract with Eyenga (two years with two additional option years) coupled with the current state of roster flux allows for considerable wiggle room with regard to development.
As Andrew pointed out last week, the Williams signing may also negatively impact last season’s second-round draft pick, Danny Green, he of the fully non-guaranteed contract in 2010-11.
Appearing in 54 games, and starting in six, Williams averaged 4.1 points and 1.5 rebounds through the 2009-10 season. He had his best season in the NBA, but fell out of the rotation come playoff time due to the return of Shaquille O’Neal and the emergence of Moon through the final stretch of the regular season. Moon’s contract expires at the end of the 2010-11 season, making Eyenga and Graham the only two small forwards under contract beyond the upcoming season.
Cavaliers training camp is set to kick off in eight days.