Antawn Jamison to Cleveland in 3-team deal
-- The Cavaliers and their newest star have something in common.
Neither has ever won a championship.
Together, they hope to fix that in June.
"There's only one thing left for me to achieve,"
Antawn Jamison said Thursday. "It's the one thing that keeps me going.
It's the one thing that drives me night in and night out. I said to
myself, 'It's going to happen before I retire.' I don't have another
five or 10 years left in this body. I'm just blessed to be put in this
The best team in the league
filled its last glaring hole when Cavs GM Danny Ferry acquired Jamison
on Wednesday in a three-team trade with Washington and the Los Angeles
Clippers. Now the Cavaliers can trot out a frontcourt of Jamison,
Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James, a trio with a combined 23 All-Star
This was Cleveland's final
statement to James before his pending free agency this summer that the
team is dedicated to winning its first championship.
It came at a hefty price for a team already well
over the salary cap. The Cavaliers were forced to trade away Zydrunas
Ilgauskas, while Cavs owner Dan Gilbert swallowed the remaining $28
million owed to Jamison over the next two years.
Trading Ilgauskas was the most difficult part
for Ferry, since the two were Cavaliers teammates at one time. Ilgauskas
has spent his entire 12-year career with the Cavaliers and is the
career leader in games played, blocks and rebounds. He is second in
scoring to James.
James has played more
games with Ilgauskas than anyone else in his career.
"I'm OK with the trade," James said. "I'm not
OK with losing Z, but I'm OK with the guy coming in. ... The best thing
he'll do for our team is spread the floor. His shooting ability is
unbelievable. The fact he can play multiple positions can really make us
Ferry admitted he's been
trying to get Jamison in Cleveland for the last couple of years.
Washington finally relented when it began rebuilding following the
season-long suspension of Gilbert Arenas.
The Cavaliers shipped Ilgauskas to Washington, along with a 2010
first-round draft pick and the rights to Emir Preldzic, who was selected
in the second round of last year's draft. The Wizards also received
forward Al Thornton from Los Angeles.
Cleveland gets guard Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers, who received
Drew Gooden from the Wizards.
to add a scorer like Jamison, who has averaged nearly 20 points for his
career, was too good for Cleveland to pass up.
"I didn't feel we had to do something," Ferry
said. "It was a great position to be in. Our guys have done a great job
in giving us the ability to only make a decision if there was something
that really excited us and caught our eye."
Now it is up to Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to make all the pieces
fit. At 43-11, Cleveland already has the league's best record and is
riding a 13-game winning streak. Tinkering with that sort of chemistry
can be dangerous, but Ferry believes the addition of Jamison will be
"It's not going to be without
its challenges," Ferry said. "Mike is going to have some hard decisions
to make. The depth we have on this roster; Mike has a lot of tough
decisions to make night in and night out."
Brown isn't sure yet whether Jamison will start or come off the bench.
After speaking with Jamison, Brown is confident he'll fit in either
"His character is off the charts,"
Brown said. "To me, chemistry equates to trust. He's a guy you can
easily trust and you feel the same coming back."
Jamison was in the arena Thursday but not
expected to play when the Cavaliers hosted the Denver Nuggets. He could
be activated in time for Friday's game at Charlotte.
Jamison heard he had been traded just as he was
headed out onto the floor for Washington's game against Minnesota on
"It's been surreal,"
Jamison said. "To one day be in the situation that is really tough and
you don't see anything positive coming out of it to the next day, right
before you're about to go out and suit up, I probably heard the greatest
news of my whole career."