Wesley's signing gives Cavs surplus of guards
CLEVELAND -- Veteran guard David Wesley signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, a deal that could lead to more backcourt maneuvering as the team tries to build off its playoff run last season.
Wesley averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 71 games -- 59 starts -- for the Houston Rockets last season.
Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry used some of the midlevel exception money to sign Wesley.
"David adds a wealth of experience and professionalism to our team," Ferry said. "His defense, shooting and toughness will add to areas that we want to continue to grow this year."
Wesley's addition temporarily gives the Cavaliers more guards than they have room for on their roster. He joins Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, rookies Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson, Stephen Graham and Eddie Basden. The club also has swingmen Sasha Pavlovic, Luke Jackson and Ira Newble.
Snow and Jones are the only returning "true" point guards, but each of them has flaws that could make them expendable.
Snow is the team's best defensive guard and a leader, but he averaged just 4.8 points during the regular season and made one 3-pointer. Jones, who signed a four-year, $16 million free-agent deal before last season, is Cleveland's best 3-point shooting threat but is a defensive liability.
Wesley's scoring average last season marked the first time since his second year in the NBA that he didn't average double digits. But he made 99-of-271 3-pointers and is ranked ninth among active players in made 3-pointers.
Wesley was impressed last season by LeBron James and Cavaliers, who beat Washington in the first round of the NBA playoffs before losing a seven-game series to Detroit in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"I like the way they played. Obviously LeBron is a very talented young player who can do a lot of things on the floor, which makes my job a lot easier," Wesley said. "I'm looking forward to being out there and waving my arms to catch and shoot.
"It feels nice to be in a situation where I'm wanted and needed and can contribute," he said.
After playing at Baylor, Wesley wasn't drafted and played one season in the CBA before he was signed as a free agent by the New Jersey Nets in 1993. He and Moses Malone are the only undrafted players in league history to score over 11,000 points.
One of the league's smaller point guards, the 6-foot-1 Wesley has played in 55 career playoff games, making 52 starts. He missed 11 games last season with a cracked rib.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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