NBA Franchise Notes: Cavs' Free-Agent Spending A Sign Of Plans To Contend
In Akron, Jason Lloyd writes regardless of how C Andrew Bynum fares in Cleveland, his signing is “a signal to the rest of the league the Cavaliers are serious about contending again.” GM Chris Grant “spent less than" $7M in free agency in the three years since F LeBron James left. The Cavs gave $30M "in guaranteed dollars this month" to G Jarrett Jack, C Earl Clark and now Bynum, who yesterday reportedly accepted an offer that guarantees him $6M for '13-14 and "could escalate" to $12M with incentives. The Cavs also “hold a team option" for $12M guaranteed in '14-15. Bynum is “easily the biggest NBA free agent to ever declare he wanted to play in Cleveland.” The Cavs “credit the aggressiveness and willingness of owner Dan Gilbert to take such a risk” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 7/11).
BIRDS OF A NEW FEATHER: In Baton Rouge, Ted Lewis writes the “subtractions and retentions over the past two weeks makes clear that this is not your father’s Hornets, er, Pelicans.” The team recently traded the rights for C Nerlens Noel to the 76ers for G Jrue Holiday, as well as acquiring restricted free agent G Tyreke Evans and others. Lewis: “Certainly it’s not the franchise presided over by cash-strapped [former team Owner] George Shinn and then an NBA trusteeship during its first 10 seasons in New Orleans.” The “bottom-of-the-roster reordering of the past two days was necessary to avoid the luxury tax,” and it is “doubtful the Hornets ever faced that problem” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/11).
MOVIN' ON UP: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes the Bobcats acquiring free agent C Al Jefferson provides the team “a dose of respectability and a new force down low.” Jefferson’s addition “also shows that owner Michael Jordan really will spend money,” with Jefferson signing a three-year $41M contract (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/11).
MOTOR CITY MARCH: In Detroit, Rod Beard notes by acquiring free agent F Josh Smith, Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars “believes the Pistons can become a destination for other high-level free agents.” Even if “those additions entail making some tough decisions on the young core players, Dumars is open to the conversation” (DETROIT NEWS, 7/11).