Jamison starts from bench vs. Cats

Updated: February 19, 2010, 9:31 PM ET
Associated Press

Jamison
Jamison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Antawn Jamison coming off the bench. That's the immediate role for the Cleveland Cavaliers' newest edition in their championship push.

Coach Mike Brown said before Jamison's debut against Charlotte Friday that J.J. Hickson would continue to start at power forward. But it's a decision Brown said he'll wrestle with as he tries to find the right combination after getting Jamison from Washington in a three-team trade.

"I'm going to be in search mode a little bit like I was at the beginning of the year," Brown said. "Hopefully we won't take it across the chin too many times while I'm trying to figure this thing out."

Jamison hardly seemed worried about his role as he joked with teammates and talked briefly with reporters before tipoff. Jamison went from struggling Washington to the team with the NBA's best record in a deal that gives the Cavaliers an All-Star frontcourt.

As long as I continue to be part of something successful I don't have a problem with it at all. I've been in situations like that before. I'm at the stage of my career where it doesn't matter if I'm starting or coming off the bench.

-- Antawn Jamison

"As long as I continue to be part of something successful I don't have a problem with it at all," Jamison said. "I've been in situations like that before. I'm at the stage of my career where it doesn't matter if I'm starting or coming off the bench."

The 32-year-old Jamison was averaging 20.5 points as a starter with the Wizards this season, but he came off the bench earlier in his career with Dallas.

"I just can't wait to get out there," said Jamison, who sat out Thursday's loss to Denver.

He gives the Cavaliers another scorer in its loaded frontcourt with James and Shaquille O'Neal. Brown says he would consider sometimes playing LeBron James at shooting guard and Jamison at small forward, but not to start games.

Hickson, who has improved this season, is averaging 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds.

"J.J., he's had a nice rhythm starting games. He's earned it," Brown said. "He plays well with the group we have out there to start."

Jamison said he was "in a cramming session" learning Cleveland's plays and getting to know his teammates. He seemed to make a friend in James, who was happy reporters were crowded around Jamison's locker instead of his before the game.

"Nice to have you around," James said, laughing.

The timing of the trade led to the strange scenario of Jamison playing his final game with the Wizards last week and his first game with Cavaliers in Charlotte, his hometown.

"Last time I was here before the All-Star break all the family was here," Jamison said. "It was a tough situation. Now everyone is excited for me. Everybody will be here tonight.

"Things like that don't normally happen here at home. To go from one situation to a great situation, I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Point guard Mo Williams was back in his starting role for Cleveland on Friday in his second game back after missing a month with a shoulder injury.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press