Oakley, a 6-9 power forward and center, said the Cavs could have used his knowledge and skills in the finals against the Spurs, who dominated the inside with Tim Duncan and with uncontested drives by guard Tony Parker. The no-nonsense Oakley, rumored to have smacked around a few players off the court, would not have any of that.
"They lost to San Antonio because guys didn't know the next step on defense," said Oakley, whom the Cavs drafted in 1985. "The Cavs are not a good help defensive team. . . . When I come back, I'm going to bring an attitude. I'm not coming back just to be on a team. I'm going to come back and go all out."
Johnny Clark, who was the assistant player development/shooting coach when Oakley was with the Toronto Raptors, said LeBron James would benefit from Oakley's presence just as Vince Carter did several years ago. Back then, Carter was fearless when he went inside for monster dunks. Carter knew who had his back if he was on the other end of a hard foul."Other teams need to know that a superstar has a teammate who will step up in their chest if the superstar gets knocked down or receives a hard foul," Clark said. "LeBron would definitely have that with Oakley as a teammate."
Would Oakley have changed the outcome of the Finals? Not really. Maybe Tony Parker would ended up with a few more bruises, but a 43 year old power forward doesn't tilt that series in the Cavaliers' favor.
Oakley said he is still in great shape. "I run three miles per day, lift weights, take shots in the gym and I still play," Oakley said. "Everyone's going to get old, it just comes down to how did you take care of your body and I've taken care of myself. I guarantee, if I get into someone's training camp, I'll end camp as one of the top eight players. It just comes down to if you want to deal with me."Honestly, right now, I don't particularly care how about the age of the players that the Cavs bring in, I just want to see new faces. They've had this roster for two years now and the only real additions have been the draft picks (and neither was picked particularly high).
Are Charles Oakley and Alan Houston too old? Maybe.... probably... but what do you got to lose at this point? Worse comes to worse they embarrass themselves, you cut 'em and the Cavs enter the season with basically the exact same roster as last season. And honestly, does anyone want to bet against Oakley's "I'll end camp as one of the top eight players" remark? I don't.