With free agency now underway, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be in hot pursuit for suitors to fill around two to three spots on their roster for the 2013-14 NBA season. With $19.5 million in cap space to spend this summer, Cleveland will be attempting to add pieces that will allow them to compete at a playoff-ready level and get them out of the cellar that they have been in for the last three seasons. Here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players this summer that the Cavaliers have been rumored to be interested in – free agents that we think could fill positional needs for the Wine and Gold moving forward.
Today we will be profiling point guard Darren Collison:
If you’ve been reading any free agency pieces on Right Down Euclid, you’ll know that most of the staff wants this team to sign a free agent backup point guard already. With so many teams being active and Cleveland making their first move on Independence Day, it is now time to address a need that many thought could have easily been done through the draft with a second-round pick. But alas, we are here now looking at potential suitors for a player who can back up Kyrie Irving with confidence. As he has shown at times throughout his four-season career, Collison can be this player for the Wine and Gold.
09-10: 76 GP, 37 GS, 12.4 PPG, 5.7 APG, 47.7 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 85.1 FT%
10-11: 79 GP, 79 GS, 13.2 PPG, 5.1 APG, 45.7 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 87.1 FT%
11-12: 60 GP, 56 GS, 10.4 PPG, 4.8 APG, 44.0 FG%, 36.2 3P%, 83.0 FT%
12-13: 81 GP, 47 GS, 12.0 PPG, 5.1 APG, 47.1 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 88.0 FT%
Career: 296 GP, 219 GS, 12.1 PPG, 5.2 APG, 46.3 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 88.0 FT%
Rumors surrounding the Cavs’ interest in signing Darren Collison:
It was first reported by Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports that Collison would become an unrestricted free agent after the Dallas Mavericks failed to extend the point guard a qualifying offer. Still, Collison isn’t ruling out returning to the Mavericks and is “intrigued by four teams as a possible landing spot” according to a league source that spoke with RealGM. With Dallas signing Jose Calderon on Friday, this seems unlikely that he would return to the Mavericks. Bill Ingram, a senior writer at HOOPSWORLD, said that Collison has been heavily pursued by multiple teams this offseason as well, which include the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and, of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers. And our trusty Cleveland Cavaliers reporter over at Fox Sports Ohio, Sam Amico, also reported that the Cavs are looking at picking up Collison as a viable backup point guard to Kyrie Irving.
How Darren Collison would fit the Cavaliers’ offseason roster needs:
As Trevor, Chris and everyone on the RDE staff for that matter has pointed out, backup point guard is at the top of the list for the Cavaliers’ offseason needs. I thought that this hole, which just simply cannot be filled by Shaun Livingston despite his cohesiveness in the huddle and unselfish play, would have been addressed with a second-round draft pick, but I understand Cleveland’s rationale behind turning one second-round pick into two future second-rounders and picking up a defensive specialist off the bench in Carrick Felix. But the Cavs really do need to address finding a point who can produce on the offensive end off the bench (like Collison has done most of last season and at times during the beginning of his four-year career), but it seems as if Collison’s confidence might have deteriorated over the past couple of seasons due to losing his starting job to George Hill in Indiana and Mike James in Dallas. A player who started off his career with a lot of promise and saw his second squad trade up for his replacement showed how he felt about what his squads thought about him on the court. If things wouldn’t go well for Collison defensively to start off a game, his effort would totally disappear for the remainder of play. But, if Collison comes into the Cavaliers organization knowing his place, I don’t think we would see those problems at all.
Collison has been known to be a very good leader in the locker room and is a great teammate, as documented by his former head coach Frank Vogel and teammate Roy Hibbert. His height (6-0) solidifies that he would only play the point for the Cavs, and that would be just fine. He led his collegiate team to three straight Final Four appearances at UCLA with that smaller frame, so that’s another reason to want a player like him coming off the bench when the pressure is on. He is a solid shooter from many areas on the floor, so that would help Cleveland out in the 15 or so minutes that I would want him on the floor when Kyrie is full go. This would be a tremendous drop from what he usually plays, but his career is stuck in that place for now. I like having a point guard who would be able to hold down scoring duties while Kyrie sits and in the unfortunate circumstance that the oft-injured All-Star would have to miss time next season.
Offer that Cleveland should send Darren Collison:
After signing Earl Clark to a two-year, $9 million deal, I find it hard for the Cavaliers to sign Collison for much less. Although Clark’s stock was rising as Collison’s was falling going into the offseason, I still believe that Collison can give a team 10+ points off the bench per game. With that said, I was thinking a deal ranging from $4 million a year over two seasons, offering some sort of option for the second season. This would be the safe, Chris Grant move to make, and there aren’t that many options that can produce off the bench for the Cavs to select from this offseason with a guy like C.J. Watson already signed to the Pacers. Beno Udrih is a good, but more expensive, option, so it seems like Collison would be the best fit for the Cavaliers, who look like they won’t be spending that much this offseason anyways. Coming off of a four-year, $6 million rookie contract, I would say that a two-year, $8 million deal is more than fair for a double-digit producer in Collison, who has proven to be a great distributor when asked to focus solely on being the floor general when scorers are on the court.
Is it in the best interest of the Cavaliers to sign Darren Collison?:
With the available free agents dwindling and no sign of the Cavaliers meeting with any of them, I would say the time is now to pounce on the players that Cleveland has expressed interest in. With so many teams pursuing Collison, the latest being the Spurs, Cleveland needs to sign a backup point guard before it’s too late and they have to get by with Livingston for another season (that’s if they bring him back). He’s one of the cheaper options at this position, and the one-time starter has shown that he can produce in any role that he is thrown in as long as his head is in the right mindset.