With Luke Harnagody, Alonzo Gee and Semih Erden all offered qualifying offers once free agency started on Sunday, it is now confirmed that the Cavaliers have lost a battle with their first player. Erden, who played 32 games as a Cavalier, averaged 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in two seasons with Cleveland.
Instead of signing with the Cavaliers or another NBA team Erden will be returning to his birth country of Turkey and signed a two-year deal with the Anadulo Efes, a team that is apart of the Euroleague.
It was rumored that Erden was homesick and wanted to return to Turkey to play basketball, but was then traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cavaliers during the 2010-11 season.
With Erden gone and Ryan Hollins departing mid-season last year, the Cavaliers now only have one true center on the team in Tyler Zeller. This is a good indication that the Cavaliers may have to chase the Chicago Bulls free agent Omer Asik. Asik, another 7-footer from Turkey, has played 148 games in two seasons with Chicago while averaging 2.9 points and 4.4 rebounds.
I would rather have Erden coming off the bench to aid Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Zeller or whoever Byron Scott has starting center next season than Asik, but it seems that he will not return to Chicago. The Houston Rockets are also another team seriously considering selling the limited center.
A player that did decide to remain with the Cavaliers is Luke Harangody, who signed his $1.1 million qualifying offer Tuesday night to remain with Cleveland. Harangody didn’t play much with the Cavaliers last season, but when he did he produced. Filling in for hobbled Antawn Jamison, Harnagody led the team in points and rebounds in a 98-89 victory over the Washington Wizards.
The former Irishmen scored 16 points and collected 10 boards, and didn’t have a game close to that one until the final game of the season against the Bulls when he scored 12 points and five boards.
Harnagody averaged 2.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 21 games with the Cavaliers last season. In 16 games with the Canton Charge Harangody averaged 19.4 points and 12.6 rebounds and almost matched those numbers in three playoff games with 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
I like where Harangody is with the way he is developing as a player, and more D-League play will only help with him getting his NBA confidence back.
On a non-player-related note, former Cavaliers general manager and current Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry is bringing in Wes Wilcox, the Cavaliers director of player personnel. Wilcox has been with the Cavaliers since 2003.