Sunday, July 19, 2009

Getting more athletic

Jamario Moon, anyone?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have continued their offseason remodeling by signing restricted free agent Jamario Moon to an offer sheet, according to NBA front-office sources.

Full details of the offer sheet are unlikely to be known until Monday, when the contract is submitted to the league office. League rules dictate that offer sheets must span three years in length, but sources told that the deal is likely guaranteed for only the first two years.

The Miami Heat will have seven days to match the offer once it's formally processed, but Cleveland would appear to have a good chance of landing Moon given Miami's well-chronicled desire to avoid new contracts longer than one year to protect its 2010 salary-cap space.


Moon, 29, is a 6-foot-8 late bloomer with career averages of 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds since breaking into the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in 2007-08. Miami acquired him in February in the Shawn Marion-Jermaine O'Neal trade.

According to the Plain Dealer, Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry typically avoids players who are restricted free agents, as evidenced by the fact that this is the first such offer sheet he has extended in his four years running Cleveland's front office.

The Cavs, however, are clearly hoping that Miami's focus on Odom and the potential trade pursuit of Carlos Boozer will enhance their chances of landing Moon, while an offer sheet also prevents Miami from including Moon in sign-and-trade proposals for the next week.

I like the move. Moon is a crazy athlete and if Mike Brown can get him to play defense, he could be a real nice pick-up.

Speaking of crazy athletes, check out this fantastic article about the Cavs' first round pick:

The team's decision to select him in the first round last month was a complete surprise that created a number of questions that turned out to have complex answers. Then over the last week at the Vegas Summer League, Eyenga showed off some tantalizing skills that raised eyebrows everywhere from the Cavs' staff to European teams who may have their own designs for his immediate future.

He's listed at 6-5 and is every bit of it. He's just turned 20 years old and looks much like it. He has pogo sticks for legs -- during the summer league he attempted a LeBron James-esque dunk by taking off from at least 12 feet from the basket and he may have pulled it off had he not been fouled. Another time he easily won a jump ball against a player who is 6-9.

He has all the tools to be a good defender. A long wingspan, good lateral quickness, good instincts, and what appears to be a genuine desire to stop his man, even though he hasn't been educated yet on the art of NBA defense.

Much of the time, Eyenga was the quickest player on the floor. With his long strides, he often beat every player down the court even when recovering from a defensive position. Had any of his teammates realized it, he probably could have had a dozen leak-out buckets in the five games, but it seemed like it took the whole week for them to notice it.


Q: So if Eyenga looked so good in summer league, are the Cavs not going to let him go back to Europe and instead just sign him and bring him to Cleveland?

A: It is possible but not certain. It seems the coaching staff left Vegas impressed and may lean toward signing Eyenga to his slotted two-year, $2 million contract with team options for seasons three and four. With the team's D-League connection in nearby Erie, Pa., there are plenty of advantages to having Eyenga close to help him develop.

The fact that they want to sign him has to be considered good news, no?

I like the fact that the Cavs got both of these guys. They need more athletes (re: Eastern Conference Finals) and both Moon and Eyenga fit the bill. Wouldn't a line up of West/Mo-Moon-LeBron-Hickson-Varejao be fun for 10 minutes a night? Let Shaq and Z get some rest and just run the other guys ragged.

I like both of these developments.


Geoff said...

I'm optimistic. Maybe he could do what Larry Hughes did without so many bad shots. The Cavs have an easier time winning games when the score is in the 70s than when the score is in the 100s.

Erik said...

If this goes through, a lineup of Mo, Redz, LBJ, Moon and Andy will be a very common sight. The Cavs were at their best last year when they could play small and push the ball. Even without Kuester, I still expect the small-lineup policy to remain in effect.

I'm still wondering how Z fits into this. Shaq is the matchup guy for when you play teams with bigger frontcourts and need to play and defend the low post. That might be honestly a grand total of 20 games. We'll need Shaq against Orlando, Boston, the Lakers, maybe the Spurs and a couple other teams I might be overlooking.

Other than that, the Cavs will play small and quick whenever possible. They have fast guards, a ballistic missle in LeBron, and hopefully an athletic freak in Moon. Z is not quick or terribly athletic, and he doesn't really have a post game, nor can he really defend the post.

Other than allowing him to finish out his career as a Cav because it's the right thing to do, I don't see how he fits this team now.

Ben said...

Ya, I'm not sure either.

Part of me thinks the ideal starting lineup would be:

Joe Smith

and then you can bring Andy off the bench for 35 minutes a game and pair him with both Z and Shaq at times.

But it looks like Smith wants a long term (3-year) deal, so that probably won't happen.

Though I've said this before, it bears repeating: you can run with Z. He's not the guy finishing the break, he should be the guy starting it (rebounding, outlet passes, etc).

That being said, I still think they trade the big fella. He's their backup center and is an $11 million expiring contract. That's the definition of expendable (though I do think he'd return).

But ya, I dunno how he fits. And I'll be honest, I'm not entirely comfortable with Mike Brown making all of this work at the offensive end.