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Top choices slipping away


Top choices slipping away
The dominoes starting falling in the NBA on Day Two of free agency. Some of the players the Cavaliers had significant interest in appear to be headed other places but they are still very much in the free-agent game.

According to a league source, the Cavaliers have begun homing in on Toronto Raptors free-agent guard Anthony Parker after both Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza appeared set to go to other teams.

Another source said the Cavs also have spoken to another Raptors free agent, former All-Star Shawn Marion, though it was not clear late Thursday if the two sides had gotten serious. Both players are unrestricted free agents.

Artest, who was one of the Cavs' top choices, told CBSSports.com Thursday that he was going to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the Cavs. He reportedly will get the Lakers' mid-level exception for three years, a deal that could be worth $18 million. The Cavs could have offered the same, but Artest, who has a home in L.A., preferred to go to the West Coast.

A few hours later, ESPN.com reported Trevor Ariza had essentially flipped spots with Artest and decided to commit to signing with the Houston Rockets for their mid-level exception.

The Cavs had pitched themselves to Ariza on the first day of free agency as well.

The Rockets, Lakers and Cavs all had the same amount of money to spend.

Any scenarios with the Raptors' free agents might take a little time as the Raptors, who own both players "Bird" rights, can outbid the Cavs if they choose. Toronto is reportedly close to re-signing guard Carlos Delfino, who played last season in Europe, and might not put up much of a fight for Parker.

Parker, 34, is a 6-6 wing who averaged 10.7 points, 4 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Raptors last season when he made $4.5 million. A former star in the Euroleague, Parker was sought by the Cavs three years ago when he came to the NBA, but he passed.

Another league source said the Cavs also have been in contact with Denver Nuggets restricted free-agent forward Linas Kleiza. The 24-year-old is the type of "stretch" big man the Cavs have been interested in. He averaged 9.9 points for the Nuggets, who might not be able to retain him as they attempt to stay out of the luxury tax.

Another player the Cavs are believed to be interested in, Rasheed Wallace, could also soon be elsewhere. Reports out of Boston said Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Celtics coach Doc Rivers and team owner Wyc Grousbeck all flew to visit Wallace in his Detroit-area home on Thursday. Wallace reportedly wanted to meet all of his suitors, and then spend the weekend making up his mind. It isn't clear whether the Cavs met with him.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: bwindhorst@plaind.com, 216-999-5166


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 4, 2009

 

 
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