After the selections of Anthony Bennett (No. 1 overall), Soviet sharpshooter Sergey Karasev and Arizona sweetheart Carrick Felix (an Alonzo Gee type) in the NBA draft two weeks ago, GM Chris Grant and the Cavs' front office have made some impressive free-agent acquisitions that suggest they're dead serious about making a playoff run this year, or at least not returning to New Jersey in the offseason.
We're beginning to look like contenders.
The biggest name, of course, is Andrew Bynum, the beastly 25-year-old who sat out the entirety of last season in Philadelphia with nagging knee injuries (one of which he sustained while bowling). Prior to those calamities, Bynum was dominant with the Lakers, putting up 19 points and 12 boards a night in 2011-2012.
On Tuesday, the Cavs made Bynum a two-year, $24 million contract offer. Though the big man remains a medical question mark, only the first year of the proposed contract is guaranteed, so the potential reward is much higher than the risk. Bynum was scheduled to meet with the Hawks in Atlanta Tuesday afternoon and make a final decision by Tuesday evening. (As of press time, he had yet to make an announcement).
To back up Kyrie Irving, the Cavs have agreed to terms with point guard Jarrett Jack. They've locked him up for four years in a deal worth $25 million, an excellent value for a sixth-ish man who'll put up consistent numbers. Jack was a stud in Golden State last year, averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 assists in the regular season behind Warriors' superstar Steph Curry. He exploded in the postseason and represents a major scoring upgrade from the likes of both Shaun Livingston and Daniel Gibson.
Maybe the most intriguing acquisition is Earl Clark, a tenacious (if unproven) small forward. The Cavs have agreed on a two-year deal worth $9 million. Sounds high, but much like the proposed Bynum contract, only the first year is guaranteed so the Cavs are only on the hook for $4.5 mil. Clark is a spry 25 and saw regular minutes for the first time in L.A. last year, where Mike Brown was allegedly fond of him. On the Cavs, he'll give Alonzo Gee a break from tough defensive assignments and provide some desperately needed length on the wing.
By the way, Omri Caspi—the NBA's only Israelite—after two disappointing seasons with the Cavs, has signed with Houston.
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