With the National Basketball League set to tip off in 24 days, free agency rumors are abound. With the Cavaliers looking to build through the draft while developing and coaching up younger talent, one of the men who could be tasked with a mentor-based role in 2011-12 is veteran shooting gaurd Anthony Parker who the team is reportedly looking to lock up for at least another two seasons.
Parker, 36, has played the past two seasons in Cleveland after being acquired as one of the shooters to provide depth around LeBron James during the team’s run in 2009-10. Supposed to play behind Delonte West at the time, Parker’s big break came when West was unable to play due to his much-discussed personal problems. Since getting the starting role, Parker has been in the Cavaliers starting more often than not – he started all 81 games in 2009-10 and 65 games last season, falling victim to a plug-and-play rotation where starting roles were sporadically given to players like Manny Harris and Daniel Gibson.
Nevertheless, with Parker’s scoring average dropping (despite his shooting metrics maintaining since his days in Toronto), the veteran off-guard has become a bit of a whipping boy for Cavalier fans who grew tired of a season which provided the team with the largest number of losses they had seen since the season before landing the aforementioned James.
Parker, who would have to agree to the multi-year deal, was the team’s player representative during the recent NBA labor impasse. When a Twitter follower asked who I thought would be the team’s starting shooting guard roughly one week ago, I said “AP” without hesitation as it has long been a belief that the team would opt to bring back the copacetic vet for his locker room presence and willingness to be a mentor for the younger players. The addition of Omri Casspi, who shares Maccabi Tel-Aviv ties with Parker, only served to further solidify this belief.
Following last season’s completion, Parker reiterated that he would like to be back in Cleveland though his future remained uncertain. As discussed earlier this week, the Cavaliers will have several options when it comes to how they choose to pay Parker. As the ABJ noted late yesterday, the shooting guard gave up the lease on his Cleveland-based apartment, but this could have been merely precautionary as it was the belief of many that there would be no NBA season in 2011-12.
Other News and Notes:
– As expected, the trade interest in guard Ramon Sessions has heated up. The Knicks are one team linked to him, but given their complete lack of tradable assets after being pillaged by Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal, it would be interesting to see what they could offer Chris Grant in return without getting a third team involved.
– Anderson Varejao, Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels and Daniel Gibson have each recently tweeted about their Cleveland-based workouts since the lockout has been lifted. Samuels and Harris are playing on unguaranteed contracts this season so their willingness to put in extra gym could be rooted in the team adding a point guard and power forward in the most recent NBA Draft.
– The Cleveland Clinic Courts are expected to open today. Personally, I can’t wait to step foot inside of the facility as it continues to be the nicest gymnasium-based building I’ve ever seen. Plus, that means I’m finally talking to the players and coaches again, and that’s good for everyone involved.