Archive for Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Gooden commits to Cleveland

Former Kansas University forward agrees in principle to three-year deal with Cavaliers

August 15, 2006


— All Drew Gooden has ever wanted was a place in the NBA to call home.

Now he has one.

Gooden, who has played for three teams and six coaches in four seasons since leaving Kansas University, agreed in principle on a three-year, $23 million contract and will re-sign with the Cavaliers, his agents said Monday.

The Cavs' top rebounder last season, Gooden has been a solid complementary player to All-Star forward LeBron James, who committed to a three-year contract extension with the Cavaliers in July.

"You always want your guy to be in a stable situation, and this is one," agent Calvin Andrews said. "Drew thinks Cleveland has a chance to win it all. We got a deal within the range we were looking for. This is a win-win for everyone."

Andrews handled the bulk of the negotiations with Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry, who, after getting James signed, turned his attention to keeping Gooden.

"We have said from the beginning that we wanted to keep Drew in a Cavaliers uniform, and although I'm not going to comment on specifics of the negotiations, things have moved in a good direction," Ferry said.

The sides have agreed to Gooden's salary and only have to work through some minor details before the deal becomes official. Gooden's agents traded offers with the Cavs on longer deals, but couldn't reach an agreement. They also explored some sign-and-trade possibilities, but couldn't find a fit.

"We're ecstatic," agent Bill Duffy said. "Drew is very happy. He likes where Cleveland is headed."

The 24-year-old Gooden averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. His inside presence and energy helped Cleveland go 50-32 in the regular season and make the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

The Cavaliers eliminated Washington in the first round and pushed defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit to seven games. Gooden averaged 8.8 points and 9.3 rebounds against the Wizards.

Cleveland has had a relatively quiet summer, one year after its 2005 free-agent spending spree when it signed guard Larry Hughes and Damon Jones and re-signed center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Gooden, a restricted free agent, was hoping for a deal similar to the six-year, $60 million contract that Nene signed with the Denver Nuggets. However, Gooden found a limited market and decided to stay with the Cavs, who acquired him along with Anderson Varejao in a 2004 trade with Orlando for forward Tony Battie.

Gooden was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2002 draft by Memphis, which traded the 6-foot-10, 242-pounder to the Magic in 2003.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.