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Archive for Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gooden signs extension with Cavs

Former Kansas University forward puts pen to three-year, $23 million deal

September 12, 2006

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— Much-traveled Drew Gooden seems to have found a home in Cleveland.

The former Kansas University forward, who played for three teams in his first three seasons in the NBA, signed a three-year, $23 million contract extension with the Cavaliers on Monday. It'll be his third season in Cleveland after stops in Memphis and Orlando.

"You always want your guy to be in a stable situation and this is one," Gooden's 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."

General manager Danny Ferry agrees.

"We are excited to move forward with Drew as an integral part of our team," Ferry said. "Re-signing him was a priority for us in the offseason and we certainly will be a better team with him."

Gooden agreed to the contract a month ago. The signing was delayed so the 6-foot-10 power forward could get a physical and so his agents could finalize details on the package.

Gooden thrived in first-year coach Mike Brown's system last season.

In 79 starts, he averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in 27.5 minutes.

He was the only NBA player to average at least 10 points and 6.5 rebounds in less than 28 minutes per game.

"We are confident he can continue to build a reputation as a defender and tenacious rebounder," Ferry said. "We made a good step forward last year as a team and we felt it was important to keep the core and build around it."

The Cavaliers made the playoffs for the first time since 1998 last season. They eliminated Washington in the first round before losing a seven-game series to the Detroit Pistons.

During the playoffs, Gooden averaged 8.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 13 starts. He scored a playoff career-high 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in Game 2 vs. the Wizards.

Gooden, who will turn 25 on Sept. 23, was drafted fourth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002. He spent one season with Orlando before being acquired along with Anderson Varejao by the Cavaliers in 2004 for Tony Battie and two

second-round draft picks.

He likes playing on the same team as LeBron James, who signed an extension this offseason.

"That shows the organization's commitment to bringing a championship to Cleveland," Gooden said. "I want to be a part of that. It's a joy playing on the same team. He is one of the best young players in the game."

Gooden has been active in the Ohio community since his arrival. He opened the Drew Gooden Reading and Learning Center at Cleveland's East End Neighborhood House in September 2005, won the NBA Community Assist Award for the month of October 2005, was named the Al Lerner Community Service Award winner at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards in February 2006 and has twice been named to the "Good Guys in Sports" list by The Sporting News.

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