INDEPENDENCE — Antawn Jamison didn’t want to get traded at the March 15 deadline, and he wasn’t.
Now the 35-year-old power forward, who is on the books for $15.1 million in the final year of his contract, is unsure if he would be open to re-signing with the Cavaliers.
“That’s too far ahead,” Jamison said Monday following practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “I haven’t thought about it. I appreciate the things this organization has done for me. … I’ve been through a lot of coaches. By far, this is my favorite coaching staff to play with and learn things from.
“To sit here and say, ‘I can see myself coming back,’ or ‘There’s a chance of me coming back right now,’ that’s one of those decisions where you really have to clear your mind and let the batteries get rejuiced and just really figure out what you want to do and what the best situation is.
“I’m not one of those guys who’s saying I have to go chase a championship or anything like that. I can be happy with going to a team and teaching young guys to play. I just have to do what’s best for me and best for my psyche.”
While most people have assumed this will be Jamison’s final season with the Cavs, who are rebuilding and looking to add young players and draft picks, his return in 2012-13 is not out of the realm of possibility.
The Cavs don’t comment publicly about contract negotiations or possible signings, but they might be willing to bring back their second-leading scorer (17.5) and rebounder (6.5) if the price is right, which would be a drastic reduction from what Jamison is earning.
But even if Cleveland decides it wants to keep Jamison, the team captain would still be free to listen to offers from around the league.
“Physically, I could play another four or five years,” Jamison said. “Mentally, man, I’ve pretty much said I’ve got another two years left after this.”
Jamison, who is in his 14th season, has not only had to deal with the regular-season grind, but two horrible seasons in a row, record-wise.
The Cavs were 19-63 last season, when they lost an NBA-record 26 straight games and 36 out of 37, and are 17-33 this season. They have lost seven in a row and 10 of 11 heading into tonight’s home game against San Antonio (36-14).
“I want to win,” Jamison said. “Tomorrow’s not promised. I might not be here next year. I can’t be worried about what we’re planning for next year. For me and a lot of these guys, it’s about, ‘What can we do now?’”
Once in contention for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland entered Monday with the fourth fewest wins in the league.
The Cavs have failed to shoot better than 40 percent or score more than 85 points in their last six games. Included were a 37-point loss to Milwaukee on Friday and a 25-point defeat to Phoenix, both at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It was tough to know we were so close (to the playoffs),” Jamison said. “Instead of taking steps forward, we took dramatic steps backward.”
Already starting to feel the strain of not having starting center Anderson Varejao, who’s been out since Feb. 10 with a fractured wrist, the Cavs really started to struggle when they traded backup point guard Ramon Sessions at the deadline.
Cleveland is 1-8 since dealing Sessions, a topic that caused the always chatty Jamison to choose his words carefully.
“I wouldn’t say I was OK with it,” he said. “It’s a guy who was a veteran. We played well together. He was a big piece of this puzzle.”
Jamison, however, understood the move was made with the future in mind, as it netted the Cavs a first-round pick for a player who might have opted out of his contract and become a free agent.
“That’s part of the business,” he said. “You have to deal with it and you have to move forward.”
The 6-foot-9, 235-pounder is also dealing with a shooting slump, as he’s 19-for-62 from the field over the last five games. Broken down, it looks even worse, as Jamison has had games of 5-for-15, 1-for-4, 7-for-21, 5-for-14 and 1-for-8. Twice in that span, he’s scored just two points in a game.
“I’m going through a rough patch where the ball is not finding the hoop,” he said. “I’ve been there before. I just have to fight through it.”
The same holds true when it comes to the team’s current woes and his future, which is why he always makes it a point to remind his younger teammates of one thing.
“We have the best job in the world,” Jamison said. “We’re playing a kid’s game. It’s always fun.”
- Who: Cleveland vs. San Antonio
- Time: 7 o’clock
- Where: The Q
- TV/radio: FS Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.