Hughes in favor of Bulls' offensive system over Cavs
CLEVELAND -- Larry Hughes was unhappy in Cleveland, even when the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals.
The veteran guard returned to Cleveland on Sunday for the first time since being dealt to Chicago in an 11-player trade on Feb. 21, and said he prefers the Bulls' style of play.
Hughes said before Sunday's game the Cavaliers' offensive system "wasn't my style. They wanted me to sacrifice things so we could win. In this system, there is more movement and draw and kicks."
The Cavaliers were 50-32 last season. Cleveland won the Eastern Conference title, beating Washington, New Jersey and Detroit in the playoffs. The Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in the finals.
Even that success didn't seem to satisfy Hughes.
"It was a good run," he said. "We had 50-plus wins, made the finals and I learned from it. I was unhappy, though, and wasn't myself. I'd rather enjoy the game than all that."
Signed as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2005, Hughes struggled with injuries and inconsistent play and was a disappointment in Cleveland. He shot 40 percent from the field in each of his first two seasons and was shooting 37 percent this season at the time of the trade. While he struggled at shooting guard, he didn't enjoy playing point guard and was also booed constantly by Cleveland fans.
"I don't blame anyone for it," said Hughes, who was booed again in Sunday's pregame introductions. "I'm moving on and I am trying to get better."
Cleveland, Chicago and Seattle were involved in the 11-player deal. Hughes, forwards Drew Gooden and Cedric Simmons and guard Shannon Brown were sent to the Bulls, who dealt center Ben Wallace and forward Joe Smith to the Cavaliers.
"I was expecting [the trade]," Hughes said. "I needed something different. Now I'm able to be me, in a fresh place that fits my style of play."
Hughes averaged 12.3 points for the Cavaliers in 40 games this season. He averaged 15.5 points in 36 games in 2005-06 and 14.9 points in 70 games last season.
Gooden, on the other hand, was given a warm reception by Cleveland fans Sunday.
"I was a little surprised, but this is a business," he said of the deal. "It's an adjustment, but I've been here before."
Gooden admitted he nearly went to the home locker room instead of the visitors.
"I was this close," he said. "I almost walked right past this [room]."
In his first four games with the Bulls, Hughes was averaging 18 points and shooting 43 percent from the field. Gooden was averaging 11 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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