The Cleveland Cavliers have reportedly expressed early interest in free agents Earl Clark, CJ Watson and Darren Collison.
FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico reports that Chris Grant is one of the many NBA general managers who hit the ground running at the onset of the league’s free agency period which began at midnight on July 1. The Cavaliers are reportedly focusing on post defense as well as a reserve point guard to provide depth behind All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Clark, 25, is a former lottery pick ofthe Phoenix Suns. The 6-foot-10-inch big man has spent time in Phoenix, Orlando and (most recently) with the Los Angeles Lakers, largely in a reserve role. Clark averaged 7.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game and earned some time in the Lakers starting lineup after his three-point prowess was seen as an advantage over the lane-clogging Pau Gasol. A “stretch” four, Clark is reportedly visiting with the Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Watson has had a successful career as a reserve point guard, recently providing relief for All-Star guards Derrick Rose and Deron Williams. His per-36 minute numbers have been solid throughout his career, averaging 13.5 points, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals. Watson shared an agent with former Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions. Amico reports that he and the Cavaliers still maintain a solid relationship, and that the agent is “impressed” with the Cavaliers’ organization.
Collison would likely represent the most upside of the three players mentioned as the 25-year-old point guard has averaged 12.1 points and 5.2 assists throughout his four-year career, playing as a starter as well as a reserve. What he lacks in size (just 6-feet tall), Collison makes up in quickness and efficiency—he shot 47.1 percent from the floor in 2012-13. Collison also adds playoff experience, having made the postseason twice with the Indiana Pacers.
The Cavaliers entered the free agency period with roughly $19 million in salary cap space for the coming season, having not extended qualifying offers to guard Wayne Ellington and forward Omri Casspi. The team is also expected to look into adding center Andrew Bynum, being one of several teams interested in the 7-footer.