Last year, the ol’ Cleveland Cavaliers GM let his restricted free agents hold out well past training camp. Those free agents, Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic, came back and struggled getting back into game shape.
I don’t fault Danny Ferry for holding out because Varejao and Pavlovic are vastly overrated players. However, contract issues have a way of permeating a locker room with a vile stench. It’s pretty basic human resources management; if an employee feels like he’s producing at a higher level than he’s being reimbursed for, the employee will either (a.) ask for more compensation or (b.) lower his productivity level to where he perceives he’s being reimbursed.
This off-season, Ferry only offered Delonte West two guaranteed seasons. Clearly, everything in Cavalier-land is geared towards signing LeBron James as a 2010 unrestricted free agent.
West averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds in 26 games for the Cavs. He said to himself, “you know what? I’m second in assists and minutes for this team. I’ve tied the gunning Boobie Gibson in scoring without breaking plays. I should get a pretty good deal here.”
Unlike Pavlovic and Varejao, who averaged 20 minutes a game and only showed up in the first few rounds of the playoffs before renewing their contract, West is a starter and a cog in the Cavalier machine. Ferry was smart enough to concede a third contract year to him. The deal is reportedly a cool $12.6 million spanning three years.
West’s primary responsibility will be to back up Mo Williams at the point. West is 6’4″ which gives the team some size and a potent defender when they realize Daniel Gibson is nothing more than Ben Gordon on welfare.
West has also started to develop a 15-to-20-foot jumper on the baseline. This is always money when LeBron charges towards the basket. It’ll be just as valuable with the shoot-first Williams running Mike Brown’s offensive sets. West will be able to bail his new point guard out of some pretty bad decisions.
For the most part, I think this is a good move. It also shows that Ferry is learning from his off-season mistakes.