NBA News: Cavaliers to sign free agent forward Earl Clark

After rampant speculation over the past few days, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached a deal with free agent forward Earl Clark.

Sean Deveny of Sporting News had the report first as a two-year, $9 million deal between Clark and the Cavs. TNT’s David Aldridge followed up in reporting that the second year is a team option; a much more flexible deal for the organization.

Clark, a 25-year-old who was the 14th pick in the 2009 draft out of Louisville, had a semi-breakout year this past season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Under the bright lights of the Staples Center, he averaged 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while averaging 23.1 minutes in 59 contests (36 starts).

He nearly doubled his career regular season playing time from the previous three seasons1. Yet, he only posted a 12.4 PER last regular season and collected just 14 points in 82 playoff minutes.

The Cavs were first linked to Clark on the rumor mill earlier this week, as reported by Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico. A 6-foot-10 “stretch” 4, he was 35-for-104 (33.7%) from the three-point line this past season and mostly lived on the perimeter offensively. He can play both forward positions and was a hot target for several teams.

Partnered with Anthony Bennett, Clark gives GM Chris Grant another weapon on the perimeter to create some potentially intriguing mismatches with size and length. Clark rates as a solid defender, so should be a decent fit with the young and collegiately porous defensive abilities of the recent No. 1 pick.

Remaining offseason priorities for the Cavs still likely will be a backup big man, another wing (CJ Miles? Wayne Ellington return?) and depth at the point guard position. Clark fits as a solid rotation player with defensive skills and the ability to stretch the floor. But it’s hard to see him gathering too many minutes, with similarly sized Tristan Thompson and Bennett also key priorities for the team’s future.

The team still has plenty of cap space remaining. Just yesterday, Cleveland was linked with New York Knicks free agent forward Chris Copeland, but with the acquisition of Clark, it appears that rumor has probably met its day.

[Related: The NBA Draft may be complete, but Chris Grant’s job is just getting started]

  1. 1,406 minutes with Phoenix and Orlando from 2009-2012; he had 1,363 minutes last year []

  • JeBron_Lames

    Can he play the 3 effectively? Because if so, nice signing.

  • JHop

    Seems we overpaid a bit. Other than that, I welcome Mr. Clark to Cleveland.

  • Jim T.

    When I saw Clark in Orlando, he was a back-up to Howard, 6-10, 245, he’s more of a 4 or 5…………….

  • Robbie S

    That was his listed position. I like him, he has a lot of upside and should unseat Alonzo Gee asap.

  • Jaker

    A very solid addition to this bench unit. Sign Ellington, Collison/Livingston and Oden and you have a very, very playoff capable team… If healthy*.

    *= I’m looking at you, Oden, Irving and Andy

  • boomhauertjs

    I think the Cavs need another PF or 2.

  • Lee Nicholas

    Well with the second year as a team option it still leaves us flexible if a big-time free agent in the 2014 class wants to come back home. I doubt we’ll need the extra flexibility this summer.

  • Lee Nicholas

    Even without Oden, if we have a year of 90% health we’re a playoff team. With Irving and Varejao alone we have to players that are top 5 at their position. Arguably top 3. Not too mention TT and Dion should be above average at their positions. All of those games compliment eachother rather nicely to boot. Throw in a bench with a #1 overall pick, a Russian sharp-shooter, and some of these other guys (that’s gotta be one of the best benches in the league, right?) and we’ve gotta heck of a young team.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    If this is the guy the Cavs got to supplant Gee than consider me bummed. Clark is neither the shooter nor perimeter defender I was hoping for. He’s better as a PF and there don’t seem to be many minutes available there. Time will tell but my initial reaction is disappointment.

  • thenoclist

    Who were you hoping for?

  • saggy

    you’re always ok when you have a Russian sharpshooter

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Martell Webster or Matt Barnes as free agents perhaps but I was and I’m still hoping for a trade.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    If he can play decent D at the 3 spot, then we’ve upgraded from Gee.

    With the team option 2nd year, we’ve done nothing to hurt our flexibility. It’s not a terrible pickup. I really think that Chris Grant is basically waiting to pounce on the “winner” of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    For me it all depends on what else Grant does. I watched a ton of Lakers games this past year and Clark seemed much more effective as a stretch 4. He looked slow trying to guard perimeter players. He even played some 5 for the Lakers when they had injuries. So I am not ready to call Clark an upgrade from Gee yet. I have doubts that his 3 point shooting will be as high as it was last year.


    Wait what?

    Gee is one of the best, young defensive (on-ball) SF in the league. Paul Pierce, LeBron, and I think Durant all said something about how Gee is a nuisance to have guarding them. It’s his offensive game, playmaking, ball handling, decision-making that are lacking.

  • thenoclist

    Gee is atrocious and should be waived.

  • woofersus

    So it’s basically a one year contract on a good defensive guy off the bench. That’s cool, I guess. I seriously doubt this guys starts, but the bench was really the team’s weakest link last year, and Speights isn’t coming back.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Another happy customer – oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeea!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Clark is not a SF I guess alot of people don’t watch NBA games other then those with the Cavaliers playing.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Thank God your not the GM!

  • thenoclist


  • JacobWFNY

    He can play the 3 defensively and in spurts on offense.

  • JacobWFNY

    PF/C, not tweeners. But yes, I’d agree. With Zeller, Varejao, Tristan, Bennett and Clark, this team has size and intriguing length. They just need a backup post presence.