The NBA world has revolved around Cleveland this offseason, and LeBron James may have another running mate if the latest rumors prove to be true.
While the Cavaliers continue to be active in an effort to please their newly re-crowned King, there are actually some interesting whispers circulating within the league that have nothing to do with Cleveland.
With that in mind, let’s dig into the latest from around the Association.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio filled fans in on the latest regarding Shawn Marion and the Cavs, while Marc Stein noted that the Indiana Pacers could be in play:
Quick FYI: Free agent Shawn Marion intrigued with Cavs. Quite possible he'll get better offer elsewhere, but definitely in play in CLE.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) August 6, 2014
Shawn Marion is a natural target for Indy in the wake of Paul George's injury but LeBron's presence, I'm told, indeed gives Cavs upper hand— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 4, 2014
It is no wonder that there are multiple teams interested in Marion, even at the age of 36. While he did post a career-worst 13.7 player efficiency rating last season (via Basketball-Reference.com), Marion is a defensive force at 6’7” thanks to his length and athleticism. He can stay in front of the majority of stretch forwards in the league and would certainly help either club on that end.
He also posted 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, so he isn’t just a defensive stopper.
This is a classic case of playing time versus a chance to win if the decision comes down to Indiana or Cleveland. Marion would see heavy minutes on the floor as part of the Pacers, but with the losses of Paul George and Lance Stephenson, it’s almost impossible to envision that team competing for a title.
Where would you sign if you were Marion?
The thought here is that Marion signs with Cleveland.
Yes, there is the lure of playing with James for a chance at a championship, but Marion would not be a simple bench-warmer. Presuming the Cavs trade Andrew Wiggins as part of a package for Kevin Love, James is the only truly elite defender remaining on the roster. Marion’s presence alone would take the pressure off the King on that end, which means James would be fresher come playoff time.
It could lead to another ring for Marion in the twilight of his career.
Glenn Robinson III
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune provided an update on Glenn Robinson III:
Wolves still hopeful of creating a roster spot for GRIII but he could spend much of season in D League if he makes the team— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) August 6, 2014
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Robinson with the No. 40 overall pick in the draft, and he brings athleticism and versatility to the table. He can play shooting guard or small forward, hit the three, attack the rim off the bounce and serve as a disruptor on defense with his length and quickness.
It would make sense from Minnesota’s perspective to give him an opportunity to play because it probably won’t be competing for a title in the near future.
It is worth noting that any moves or potential moves involving the Timberwolves will be seen in the context of the presumed Love trade. If Minnesota gives up more players than it receives in that transaction, it could certainly make room for Robinson.
The Timberwolves could then let him, Wiggins and Ricky Rubio develop together with an eye toward the future. Of course, that would be hard to do with Robinson in the D-League.
Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press provided an interesting update on Greg Monroe’s immediate future:
Here we are less than two months away from the start of training camp and despite a full-court sales pitch, Monroe hasn’t signed his name to a contract.
It’s no secret that Monroe wouldn’t mind a change of scenery and wants a max contract, but the system hasn’t worked for the restricted free agent like it has for Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward and now-Mavs forward Chandler Parsons, both of whom received lucrative deals this off-season.
Ellis also went on to report that most teams don’t see Monroe as a max-contract player and have shied away because the Pistons could just match any offer. What’s more, inside players like Monroe have become devalued in this stretch forward-dominated era.
The Pistons have also moved on from a five-year, $60 million offer to one that would make Monroe the highest-paid player on the roster.
In an era of inflated contracts, it would make sense if some team (including the Pistons) took a chance on a 24-year-old power forward/center in a league that doesn’t have a lot of dominant big men. Monroe posted 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last year and has the potential to be a double-double machine for the next 10 years.
Fellow Detroit big man Andre Drummond, via a separate Ellis report, discussed the Monroe situation:
Greg knows what it is. I’ve told him multiple times that he needs to come on home.
I need him there, and all the guys would love to have him back as well. At the end of the day, he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family.
I still have high hopes, and I’m pretty sure he is coming home, so I’m excited for this season.
Drummond is only 20 years old, and the Pistons could have a dominant duo down low for years to come. First, though, they have to iron out the contract details with Monroe.
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