Around the NBA: Team USA on ESPN
Team USA exhibition schedule
Opponent Date, time TV
Canada Friday, 8 p.m. ESPN
Turkey July 31, 8 a.m. ESPN2
Lithuania Aug. 1, 8 a.m. ESPN2
Russia Aug. 3, 3 a.m. ESPN2
Australia Aug. 5, 8 a.m. ESPN2
Giving out four-year deals to role players in their 30s can be risky.
New Orleans locked up 31-year-old James Posey for four years last week. The Cavs gave Donyell Marshall, then 32, a four-year deal in 2005 and got little back by the end of his second season in Cleveland.
Here’s a look at each player’s last three seasons leading up to their four-year deals, as well as Marshall’s numbers after coming to Cleveland.
Season Games PPG 3pt pct
05-08 212 7.4 38.6
Season Games PPG 3pt pct
02-05 225 13.3 40.6
05-06 81 9.3 32.4
06-07 81 7.0 35.1
07-08 11 3.7 34.8
When Daniel Gibson re-signed with Cleveland as a restricted free agent last Wednesday it looked like the Cavs made one good move that day.
They actually made two.
The second was not getting caught up in overpaying free agent forward James Posey. The Twinsburg native officially came to terms with the Hornets later that night, ending the Cavs pursuit of a key role player on two of the last three NBA champs.
Posey would’ve been a nice fit for the Cavs but not at the $25 million over four years the Hornets will pay him. A three-year deal, which seemed the limit from the Cavs, Celtics and others, probably is one year too long but still maybe worth the risk because of his versatility and intangibles.
But four years?
Posey is 31 and coming off a season in which he put up 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 24.6 minutes a night with the Celtics. He’s a good spot-up 3-point shooter, a solid defender and plays within his role.
But it is unreasonable to expect him to be performing at that level as he approaches his mid-30s. The Cavs need only remember how rapidly forward Donyell Marshall’s production declined after signing him at age 32 to a four-year deal. By this past season, Year 3 of the deal, injuries mounted after the wear and tear of 13 NBA seasons. He played in only 11 games before being traded to Seattle at the deadline.
Yes, the Cavs need help to remain an NBA title threat. They know that.
“We’ve also talked to other free agents, and we’ve talked about trades just like every other team,” GM Danny Ferry said the day Gibson signed. “We will continue to explore every way we possibly can to get better and give ourselves the best chance and the best window to win a championship this year and to have sustainable success.”
The key words there are “sustainable success.” They don’t want to go for a quick fix that hurts long term flexibility. They’ve got to be smart to remain flexible in 2010 when LeBron James can opt out. Not only do they want money available to retain James, they also will need cap space if they want to pursue another big name on the market that summer, say Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade.
When it comes to securing deals with a team’s own restricted free agents, Ferry said there’s “no exact road map.” But it’s obvious the course the Cavs and Gibson took is one the team hopes to repeat with others.
“There was a great level of communication and a trust that both of us wanted to make this happen and try to find the common ground as quick as possible,” Ferry said.
The deal is reported to be worth $21 million over five years, locking Gibson up until 2013. That shows that Cavs believe Gibson, along with James, is part of the team’s long-term core.
Next on the Cavs list is figuring out where point guard Delonte West fits into the picture. He’s their other remaining restricted free agent. He averaged a little more than 10 points and four assists in 39 games, counting the playoffs.
New Orleans, owners of the second-best record in the West last season, feel like Posey could be the final piece to push the team to a championship level. The Hornets bench got exposed in the second round by the Spurs.
“They were already good with the things they accomplished last year,” Posey told the Boston Globe. “They have a nice leader in Chris Paul, as well as David West, Tyson Chandler, and Peja (Stojakovic). They have guys who can shoot the ball and play basketball. The chances of winning a title are bright.”
The Clippers bounced back from the loss of All-Star forward Elton Brand by trading for forward-center Marcus Camby.
Denver essentially gave away the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year to dump salary.
The Clippers also continue to look to Golden State to bolster their roster. They signed restricted free agent guard Kelenna Azubuike to an offer sheet last week. The Warriors have until the end of this week to match the offer or lose Azu¬buike. The Clippers already signed Baron Davis from the Warriors this summer.
Golden State Head Coach Don Nelson is maintaining a sense of humor about losing players to the Clippers. When asked during the NBA TV telecast of a summer league game about what young players he liked, Nelson joked he didn’t want to name any “because the Clippers might be listening and sign them.”
- All five Team USA exhibition games will be televised live, starting with Friday’s game against Canada in Las Vegas. ESPN has that game at 8 p.m.
- Ron Artest trade rumors continue to flourish. The Lakers and Mavericks both have reported interest and so may the Cavs, according to ESPN.com.
- Camby does not leave Denver filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. He told the Rocky Mountain News he was, “blindsided, distraught, disrespected” by the trade. “I definitely feel insulted.”
- The Nuggets have lost both Camby and Eduardo Najera from their frontcourt, which wasn’t exactly deep. Those two also were their most willing defenders, meaning Denver games could resemble a pick-up affair on a playground.
- Some notable scoring averages from the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas -- Houston rookie forward Donté Greene 28.5, Portland rookie guard Jerryd Bayless 27.7, Golden State second-year guard Marco Belinelli 23.0. Nelson loves Belinelli’s offensive game. “I wish he was a better defender, but you can’t have everything,” Nelson said with a laugh on NBA TV. Two other rookies looking good are Minnesota center Kevin Love (20.7 ppg, 15.0 rpg) and Charlotte guard D.J. Augustin (19.7 ppg, 56.3 percent shooting).
The Celtics aren’t having the best of summers. Spurned by Posey, they also came up short in a bid for point guard Tyronn Lue, who ended up in Milwaukee. Boston’s major signing? Seven-footer Patrick O’Bryant, a former Golden State first-round pick out of Bradley. O’Bryant averaged 1.7 points in 40 career games during two seasons with the Warriors.
- The Arizona Republic reported the Suns may have interest in free agent guard Devin Brown, who was a valuable bench player with the Cavs last season.
Reach Repository sports writer Chris Beaven at (330) 580-8345 or e-mail email@example.com