Daniel Gibson averaged 10.4 points, despite missing 18 games last season, yet was fifth in the NBA on 3-point percentage.
Eric Gay / AP Enlarge
CLEVELAND - The Cavaliers finally made a move this off-season, signing sharpshooter Daniel Gibson to a five-year contract yesterday.
Bringing back Gibson, a restricted free agent, was one of Cleveland's top priorities. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The guard averaged a career-high 10.4 points on 43 percent shooting last season. He sprained his left ankle in a Feb. 20 game at Indiana and missed 18 games.
Gibson, a popular player known by the nickname "Boobie," had arthroscopic surgery last month on the ankle. He's already back to playing basketball and is expected to be ready for training camp.
"He's got a great smile on the court. He can shoot the heck out of the ball and bring energy to our group because guys just love playing with him," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said.
Aside from signing first-round draft pick J.J. Hickson last week, the Cavs have been quiet this off-season. Ferry hasn't been active in free agency because the Cavaliers are over the salary cap.
Ferry said the team has been talking to free agents and considering trades.
"We will continue to explore every way we possibly can to get better and give ourselves the best chance and the best window to win a championship this year and to have sustainable success," Ferry said.
The Cavaliers do have two exceptions ($5.5 million midlevel and $1.8 million biannual) to improve their talent. They showed interest in Boston forward James Posey, but he agreed to a four-year, $25 million contract with New Orleans yesterday.
Ferry also must decide on guard Delonte West, a restricted free agent, who was acquired in an 11-player deal at the trading deadline last season and showed signs that he could be the traditional point guard the Cavaliers have needed.
"We like what we saw from Delonte last year," Ferry said. "We think he and the team will benefit from having an off-season together. So hopefully, we can get moving forward with his contract negotiation as well."
The pressure on Ferry, owner Dan Gilbert and coach Mike Brown to win an NBA title is mounting with star LeBron James eligible for free agency following the 2010 season. That's two years away, but there's already rampant media speculation about James leaving for New York or elsewhere, and the talk isn't likely to subside.
By re-signing Gibson, the Cavaliers brought back their most consistent outside shooting threat. They're also ahead of where they were last year when restricted free agents Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao held out all summer before resigning.
Gibson was fifth in the NBA last season in 3-point shooting at 44 percent. He was named MVP of the All-Star rookie/sophomore game in New Orleans when he made a record 11 3-pointers.
The Cavaliers are in need of a second scorer to take some pressure off James. Gibson has filled that role at times but not consistently.
"I feel like as time goes on I'll continue to improve and my role will continue to increase and develop," Gibson said.
Gibson missed the final two games of Cleveland's playoff series against Boston with a separated shoulder. Gibson, whose scoring was key to the Cavaliers' win over Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals to reach their first NBA finals in 2007, says missing Game 7 of the Boston series still haunts him.
"I've had a lot of sleepless nights just wondering where I could have helped the team," Gibson said.