Been away for a little bit, here's some points on recent Cavs goings on. Most of it is from this story that ran Sunday, which had the most Cavs news I've been able to report in awhile.
--There has been no official announcement on John Kuester being named an assistant coach yet, but my sources on the matter are rock solid. From the people I have talked to, the decision to hire him is a solid one. I don't know John, but he has been described to me as a pro's pro who is very experienced. He's been a head coach on the college level and been with numerous NBA teams. Experienced with a championship ring, he is exactly the type of candidate the Cavs said they wanted when they started the process. He is known as a guy who is a strong all around coach. I know this is not the type of candidate many fans wanted, but as I've been writing for a year now Danny Ferry and Mike Brown do not believe they need a so-called "offensive coordinator/guru." I have talked to both men about it and they have presented their reasoning to me and I don't see it changing any time soon. One theory is that you can't call offensive sets like defensive sets, which are usually changed in timeouts. Second, Mike Brown believes he's learning and getting better at coaching offense. That doesn't mean there won't be changes, I'm just trying to explain their thinking on the offensive coordinator issue.
How did Kuester get the job? He got a strong recommendation from Gregg Popovich among other things. He is a part of the extensive Larry Brown coaching tree, first playing at North Carolina and then coaching with him in Philadelphia and Detroit. It was Popovich who gave Mike Malone, in my mind one of the brightest young assistants in the NBA, a recommendation when Mike Brown was looking to assemble his staff two summers ago.
--On to Allan Houston, who has been planning this comeback and has been on the Cavs radar for some time now. The reason he made it public now is the recent signing of Penny Hardaway and the Celtics' pursuit of Reggie Miller. Houston let it be known to ESPN, who he works for, that he's on the market, too. At 36, he might have something left in the tank if his knee is truly OK. I know the Cavs are thinking about it and they'll probably work him out or watch him work out if they haven't already. If he wants to play in Cleveland and he can help there is no reason for the Cavs not to pursue this option because he was and probably still is a great shooter. Houston is also known for his high character, which the Cavs put an emphasis on. He's six years young than Miller, but then again Miller didn't have to retire years early because of chronic knee problems.
If the Cavs are somehow convinced he can contribute, a deal may come down to two factors. Just what his role would be, considering the Cavs want to continue to develop Daniel Gibson. Houston told ESPN that he wants to be a role player, but it sounded like he wanted a defined role. And perhaps whether the Cavs or anyone else is willing to guarantee him a contract. The Heat signed Hardaway to a nonguaranteed deal, but Houston surely will want his guaranteed.
--Assuming Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic re-sign, the Cavs are looking at having three open roster spots. Scot Pollard is now in Boston and that is a loss because he was a quality fifth big man. They Cavs just never needed him, which didn't make him happy to be sure. So that spot is open. The Cavs have been trying to trade for a versatile backup big man. With the news of Adonal Foyle being bought out by the Warriors, I wouldn't be surprised if they put in a call to him. Foyle is a good shot blocker and is an excellent character guy to have in the locker room. We'll see what his market is.
It sounds like David Wesley is going to retire. His contract, as has been reported, is only partially guaranteed ($250,000 of $1.75 million.). Unlike some veteran contracts, which become fully guaranteed in August or September, Wesley's doesn't until Jan. 10. So the Cavs will have until then to trade the contract, which can be used to reduce another team's salary. So they are not in a rush to make a move with it. However, their $2.2 million trade exception expires in mid-October. This is also an empty roster spot and could be filled with a guy like Houston. Or not filled at all before the season, the Cavs are up against the luxury tax and they have lots of guards.
The third empty spot is Dwayne Jones' role. It may be filled by Jones again, who looked terrible at the start of summer league but improved afterward and has a legit shot at making the team. He has the potential to be a very good rebounder, but his hands and footwork need improvement. We'll have to see what the roster looks like come training camp.
--This is vacation time in the NBA for players, agents and GMs. Things don't get done in August very much. Never say never, but I don't expect there to be much movement on any front for the next few weeks.
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