Buried in this July 4th NBA free agency news was a rumored contract offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers to guard Marco Belinelli, who then signed with the San Antonio Spurs.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was the main source who reported Cleveland’s unfruitful interest in the 27-year-old Italian shooter.
Back to reality: Word is Belinelli had more lucrative offer from Cleveland but could not resist lure of joining Spurs' all-world operation
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2013
Stein later added that the Spurs acted fast on Belinelli because they’re uncertain if they’ll retain restricted free agent guard Gary Neal, a major bench cog on their run to the NBA Finals last season.
According to Stein’s reporting, the possible contract offers out there on the market for the 28-year-old Neal are past the price range San Antonio is comfortable matching. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Spurs still do hope to retain Neal.
Belinelli, the No. 18 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, played this past season with the Chicago Bulls. He has posted fairly consistent regular season production in the past three years, including the previous two with New Orleans. His averages: 73 games, 26.5 minutes, 10.6 points, 41.7% shooting, 38.6% three-point shooting.
San Antonio nabbed the guard with a two-year, $6 million contract. It has not been reported, outside of unclear Twitter rumblings, what the Cavs’ offer might have been for Belinelli. It is known that GM Chris Grant still does have over $15 million at his disposal, even after the team reached an agreement with free agent forward Earl Clark on Thursday.
Cleveland still has a large hole to fill at the shooting guard position. Their current options are Dion Waiters, Sergey Karasev and Alonzo Gee, but no reports have been given about C.J. Miles’ potential return to the team. Wayne Ellington did not receive a qualifying offer, as well.