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Archive for Saturday, July 15, 2006

Gooden antsy about contract

Cavaliers have yet to make offer to restricted free-agent forward

July 15, 2006

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The Cleveland Cavaliers settled their major offseason issue by signing LeBron James to an extension earlier this week. Now their focus is directed on signing restricted free agent Drew Gooden, but the negotiations are dragging.

The Cavs have not offered Gooden a contract, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Friday.

Former Kansas University standout Gooden would like to sign a five- to six-year deal, but the organization may have something else in mind.

General Manager Danny Ferry said this week there has not been any progress. Gooden's agent, Calvin Andrews, spoke with Cavs officials on Thursday.

Gooden, meanwhile, would like to continue his career in Cleveland.

"I hope everything works out so I can stay in Cleveland," Gooden said. "LeBron was signed and that shows the organization's commitment to bringing a championship to Cleveland. I want to be a part of that."

If the Cavs and Gooden don't come to an agreement, he could sign a one-year deal and become a free agent after next season or request a sign-and-trade.

Rumblings of a sign-and-trade have begun - Phoenix, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia are interested in Gooden, according to several league sources.

Until it comes to that, Andrews said he will follow the Cavs' lead throughout the negotiations.

"Drew wants to remain with the Cavs and we'll do our best to make that happen," Andrews said.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavaliers see Gooden as a key role player who works hard and is a team player who doesn't worry about stats. They also have three players under contract who will be making between $10-15 million starting in 2007 (James, Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas), and they have to maintain some fiscal responsibility.

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