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The Cleveland Cavaliers will be buyers in the NBA free-agent market

Posted by dsims June 30, 2009 22:16PM



Mike Levy/The Plain DealerCavaliers general manager Danny Ferry, owner Dan Gilbert, and head coach Mike Brown will have a busy offseason. The Cavaliers plan to be spenders during NBA free-agency period with a jump-shooting power forward at the top of their wish list.



Warren Buffett, a friend of LeBron James and a rather established expert in making acquisitions, can certainly relate to the situation the Cavaliers are now in.


One of the billioniare's core philosophies and known quotes is to "attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."


In listening to sources within the organization and across the league, despite being in a challenging climate for professional sports that has prompted fear with good reason, the Cavs fully intend to be greedy.


It seems the team is expected to act quickly to add to their already well-heeled roster in an attempt to win their first title next season, which is famously the last on James' contract.


They are going to make their pitch and look to spend about as much as the league rules will allow them, within reason.


Their product already has James and now Shaquille O'Neal, and another All-Star in Mo Williams in residence. Plus it owns some of the best facilities in which to play and train in the league, even if it isn't located in a glamour city.


It also follows a principle of another successful businessman, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who is fond of saying "money follows, it doesn't lead." Last season, the Cavs spent around $100 million in payroll and luxury taxes and were rewarded with the most revenue in team history. Gilbert seems to be prepared to keep going.


Though they don't have salary-cap space that teams usually need to make a splash this time of year as the free-agent season opens, they appear to be one of the few teams willing to use their salary-cap exception monies to their fullest. They have the midlevel exception of around $5.6 million and the biannual exception of $2 million to play with. These days, that qualifies them as big spenders.


At midnight and in to the early hours of July 1, the Cavs were set to make a flurry of phone calls to available free agents. According to sources, they have their favorites but have assembled a series of different plans they could follow. The cornerstones are in place, so they are not desperate to add any one player in the free-agent class and, because most of the players currently under contract can play multiple positions, they can go several different ways.


It is believed the Cavs top choices are forwards they can pair with O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a developing J.J. Hickson and, if things work out, a re-signed Anderson Varejao. Those include Charlie Villanueva, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess, players who can stretch the floor when it compacts on the Cavs' current All-Stars.


But if none of them want to take the money, there are other avenues. The team can focus on signing one or more tall wing players and slide James into more of a power forward role and have them stretch the floor. Those include veterans such as Grant Hill, Anthony Parker, Marquis Daniels, Josh Childress and Matt Barnes.


Then there is the Jason Kidd option, going after a future Hall of Famer to join other likely future Springfield, Mass., residents James and O'Neal, and allowing Williams and Delonte West to play off the ball more.


Because of the few teams willing to spend in the market, the Cavs are convinced one of the scenarios, or perhaps another one they are keeping secret, can be and will be executed.


It comes down to another Buffett principle that Gilbert and James certainly understand as well when they look at the possibilities of next July 1.


"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special," Buffett likes to say "or it's not going to get the business."



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