Free Agents Cleveland Cavaliers Must Avoid

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterMay 23, 2013

Free Agents Cleveland Cavaliers Must Avoid

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    With less than $28 million in guaranteed salaries for next season (per hoopsworld.com), the Cleveland Cavaliers have the cash to go on a serious spending spree this summer.

    With a collection of All-Stars hitting the market, it could be very tempting for the Cavs to make a run at a player that would immediately upgrade their team without considering all of the ramifications.

    Some players carry considerable upside while also yielding some serious risk.

    The Cavs are on a rebuilding plan that could be thrown way off course with just a few bad free agent signings.  They've worked hard to collect assets in the form of draft picks, young talent and salary cap space, and need to use all three wisely.

    For the following five players, it's best the Cavs keep their distance when considering whom to sign this coming free agency period.

Lamar Odom, F, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Reasons to Stay Away: Declining production, drama

     

    Odom is the first player to see his PER drop more than 10 points in the span a single season, according to John Hollinger.

    Accomplishing this feat in 2011-2012 with the Dallas Mavericks, Odom was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers before the beginning of last season, when he struggled once again.

    This past year, Odom put up averages of 4.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 19.7 minutes per game.

    While his rebounding off the bench was solid, offensively Odom has gone on a free-fall since his days with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    He shot just 39.9 percent from the field and a putrid 20 percent from the three-point line.  Even his free-throw percentage hit a career-low at 47.6 percent.

    Throw in the fact that he's married to a Kardashian and has an ad for a unisex fragrance, and it's clear a blue-collar town like Cleveland would not be a good fit.

Andrew Bynum, C, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Reasons to Stay Away: Knee problems, love of basketball, cost

     

    Bynum was widely considered the second-best center in the entire NBA before this season, and he enjoyed a career year with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-2012.

    There were even rumors the Cavaliers may try to trade for Bynum last August, before Philadelphia ultimately pulled the trigger on a deal.

    The results were disastrous, as Bynum had knee surgery and missed all 82 games.  He's had a history of injury problems in the past and may not be fully recovered by the time the 2013-2014 season begins.

    Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar questioned Bynum's work ethic and passion for the game, something you never want to hear about a player in any sport.

    Another thing about Bynum that should turn the Cavs off is his cost.  Despite all of the issues surrounding the 25-year-old center, he could still very well score a maximum contract offer based on his upside alone. 

    Such a contract could cripple a small-market team if the injury bug would strike Bynum again, and is something the Cavs shouldn't risk.

O.J. Mayo, SG, Dallas Mavericks

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    Reason to Stay Away: Style of play

     

    There was a time that a player like O.J. Mayo would have been a great fit for the Cavaliers.

    Then, Dion Waiters came along.

    Mayo and Waiters are both offense-first shooting guards who can create or shoot coming off screens.  Both have also undergone transformations from sixth men to starters, and it's unlikely either would be okay going back to the pine.

    Since neither are big enough to play the small forward position, one would have to be moved to the bench and sacrifice both playing time and shots.  My guess is neither would be jumping at the chance to volunteer.

    Mayo is a fine player who averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 assists with the Mavs last season.  Some team will throw good money at him, it just shouldn't be the Cavs.

Al Jefferson, C, Utah Jazz

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    Reasons to Stay Away: Price, lack of defense

     

    Al Jefferson is one of the best players nobody talks about.

    He's a classic post scorer and great rebounder who averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Jazz last season.  At 28, Jefferson should still be in his prime for years to come.

    The problem with Jefferson and the Cavs is a matter of team need.

    Cleveland needs a center who can anchor the defense and block shots.  They can generate enough offense out of Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson in the post to get by most nights with such a high-scoring backcourt. 

    For this reason, Jefferson just isn't a good fit.  He's not a particularly good shot-blocker (1.1 per game last season) and yielded an opponent PER of 17.4 according to 82games.com.  His strengths don't fit the Cavs main area of need, and therefore they should spend their money elsewhere.

    Jefferson will likely get anywhere from $12 million-$18 million annually on his next contract, a number the Cavs shouldn't be willing to offer.

Daniel Gibson, G, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Reason to Stay Away: Durability, decline in shooting

     

    Gibson is the second-longest tenured Cavalier, and he is hitting free agency for the second time in his career.

    Last time, the Cavs signed Gibson to a five-year deal after the 2007-08 season following a 10.4 point, 2.5 assist per game campaign.

    "Boobie" has been a fan favorite for a number of years, but recently can't seem to stay on the court.  He missed 36 games this past season, and 31 the season before that.

    His production when healthy has suffered as well, resulting in only 5.4 points per game on 34.0 percent shooting from the field this past season.

    Gibson hasn't proven that he deserves another chance with the Cavaliers, which is sad to say after what once looked like such a promising career.

    The Cavs would be better off signing Wayne Ellington to a new deal as their sharpshooter off the bench, and let Gibson explore other options in free agency.