Cleveland Cavaliers: Antawn Jamison's New Role

Max Minsker@@MaxMinskerCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 11:  Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a foul call while playing the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 120-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Antawn Jamison may very well be the best player on the Cavaliers roster.

He is aging, but he averaged 16 points and eight rebounds this season for the Cavs and is now their most effective scoring option.

This brings us to the question, why is he going to be coming off the bench next season?

The Cavs are obviously going to struggle next season, so why does it make sense to stick their best player on the bench? Well, it doesn't.

The man who will be replacing him in the starting lineup next season is J.J. Hickson. Hickson is a solid young player that really got a chance to showcase his skills this offseason in the NBA summer league, averaging 24 points and just over seven rebounds a game.

Hickson has been one of the most impressive players at the summer league and really showed fans as well as coaches and executives that the sky is the limit, and his future is an especially bright one. 

J.J. Hickson played 21 minutes a game last season for the Cavs and put up modest numbers, scoring just over eight points with five rebounds a game during the regular season. 

Hickson is poised to take over the starting job because it is widely believed that he can be more effective in Byron Scott's fast-paced offense than Jamison. Hickson is the future of the Cavaliers and Antawn Jamison is old news. 

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With Jamison on the bench another problem comes to light. He will be making more than $13 million next season. He will be the highest paid player on the roster by far and if Cleveland is going to try to start rebuilding, Antawn Jamison could end up really hindering their progress. 

At this point, I believe the best option for the Cavaliers is to attempt to dump Jamison's salary to anyone who will take it and start rebuilding. Jamison and point guard Mo Williams are owed $55 million combined over the next three seasons, not to mention Anderson Varejao's ugly contract.

The Cavaliers should start working on acquiring young players who fit into Byron Scott's run-and-gun system.

Antawn Jamison has played this role before, but in reality Jamison needs to be moved to a contender. At this point in his career the last thing he needs (or wants) is to sit on the bench during a rebuilding effort.

The Cavaliers have a lot of decent puzzle pieces, but none of them seem to fit together. Jamison is just another example. With LeBron the Cavaliers are a veteran team with a lot of experience competing for a championship.

Without LeBron, they are just a below-average team with a bunch of overpaid players that are either too old or too slow to run an up-tempo offense.

I have no idea what to expect from the Cavaliers right now, but if they are willing to put their best player on the bench I am hesitant to put the Cavs in the 2010-2011 playoff picture. Byron Scott and the Cavaliers have their work cut out for them.

I think it's safe to say that a tough road lies ahead, and the NBA finals is something Cavs fans can only dream about in the coming years. It will be a difficult task and putting Jamison on the bench doesn't make it any easier.