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HexNBA
08-14-2006, 11:31 AM
Gooden agrees to three-year deal with with Cavs
By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

Scratch one more name off the NBA's ever-shrinking list of quality free agents: Drew Gooden.

Gooden's representative, Calvin Andrews, told ESPN.com on Monday that his client has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a three-year contract worth about $23 million.

Re-signing Gooden was the Cavs' other main priority this offseason, after securing LeBron James' signature on a contract extension last month. The lack of further free-agent activity in Cleveland isn't surprising after its spending spree last summer to re-sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas and bring in Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones.

"It was a long negotiation, but ultimately Danny Ferry was very fair and professional throughout the process," Andrews said of the Cavaliers' general manager. "At the end of the day, Drew is very excited to re-sign with what he feels is a team on the cusp of a championship. He feels he has found a home with the Cavaliers."

Gooden originally sought a deal in the same range as the six-year, $60 million pact Nene received from the Denver Nuggets, or the six-year, $57 million contract Al Harrington is expected to net from the Indiana Pacers in a sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks. But Gooden and Seattle SuperSonics forward Chris Wilcox -- another restricted free agent likely to sign a three-year deal worth $20-to-$25 million -- found their options limited.

The few teams with salary-cap space either targeted other players or aren't spending their money, and teams interested in offering their mid-level exception to Gooden or Wilcox -- contracts starting at $5.3 million -- feared the Cavs and Sonics would simply match those offers.

Gooden, who averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in his fourth pro season, also could have elected to sign a one-year deal worth $5.3 million, enabling him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But Gooden opted for the added security of a three-year deal, setting up Cleveland to bring back the group that surged in the second half of last season to finish 50-32 and stretch Detroit to seven games in the second round of the East playoffs.

From here, with a payroll fast approaching luxury-tax territory, Cleveland will likely have to construct trades to make major personnel alterations, as the Cavs rush to establish themselves as unquestioned championship contenders before James has the right to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2010.

In the short term, though, Ferry is counting on the continuity of a largely unchanged roster, improved health for Hughes and the natural progression of James and the emerging Anderson Varejao to build on the successes of the spring. James turns just 22 in December.

With Gooden returning to Cleveland, Wilcox believed to be staying in Seattle and Harrington still likely to wind up in Indiana, Sacramento's Bonzi Wells and Denver's Reggie Evans are considered the biggest names left on the free-agent market.

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maybe a bit high money wise but good amount of years. nice to see some GMs showing some restraint this offseason, unlike denver giving nene $60m and the hornets showering similar money on peja.

nashtymavsfan13
08-14-2006, 11:35 AM
That's a much smaller contract than I would expect.