Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Pavlovic ends holdout, agrees to three-year deal with Cavs
By Chad Ford
The Cleveland Cavaliers and restricted free agent Sasha Pavlovic have agreed to a three-year deal, Pavlovic's agent Marc Cornstein told ESPN.com.
Cornstein refused to give the numbers on the contract.
"Sasha is very excited to be returning to the Cavs," Cornstein said. "I believe he can help the Cavs build on the success they had last year."
The two sides had been at a standstill for much of the summer. Cornstein said that there was little movement until the last few days when Cleveland began to put a more serious offer on the table.
"Cleveland made great strides in the last few days to show how much they truely value Sasha and to ensure that we closed on this deal for the start of the season," Cornstein said.
When will he return to the Cavs?
Pavlovic is in Serbia at the moment and is preparing to return to the United States. He'll likely return to Cleveland on Wednesday but it's unlikely he'll play.
When his contract gets done, Cornstein said Pavlovic is ready to play.
"He's been working out twice a day with a personal coach. He'll be in excellent condition. Once everything is official he'll be ready to go."
The Cavs' other restricted free agent holdout, Anderson Varejao, remains unsigned with sources close to the negotiations claiming that the two sides are still far apart with little movement over the last week.
The Cavs struggled in the preseason without Pavlovic and Varejao. The team posted a 1-6 record and was blown out in the past few games.
The team's struggles, combined with a lack of offseason moves by Cavs GM Danny Ferry, led to LeBron James complaining publicly about the state of the team last week in a Q&A with the Akron Beacon Journal's Brian Windhorst.
"For me as a leader, you want guys around you that are going to help you win ball games," James said. "I'm going to do what is best for the team. But at the same time you see teams regrouping and reshaping, and with our team we didn't do any reshaping, we didn't do any regrouping. You start to think a bit, 'How are we going to continue to get better?'"
Instead, James said, the Cavs were coming into the season "worse" than they were last year.
"Oh, we're worse," James said. "We're not as good as we were if we have those guys. It's simple. We all know that. Those two guys are a big part of our team. There's no reason to sit here and say we're better without them. I think they're a key point to our team. At the same time, we have to continue to get better while they are not here. Hopefully something happens."
Signing Pavlovic is an important step, but he wasn't nearly as important to the franchise last season as Varejao, who was the team's best defensive player.
Without Varejao, the Cavs have a thin front line and miss his energy and defensive toughness in the paint.
Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.