INDEPENDENCE — The Cavaliers say Shannon Brown is still in their plans, but their actions say something else.
The team did not pick up the relatively cheap option year on the second-year guard’s contract, meaning Brown will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
“We like Shannon,” general manager Danny Ferry said Thursday afternoon. “He’s someone we will continue to support, but he hasn’t had a big opportunity to play. We can re-evaluate things this summer.”
The No. 25 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft out of Michigan State, Brown is earning $1.04 million this season. The option year on his deal would have required the Cavs to pay him only $1.1 million for 2008-09, but an abundance of guards and the fact the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder has struggled in the NBA led the team to go in another direction.
The Cavs did pick up the option year on the contract of power forward Cedric Simmons, who will earn $1.63 million this season and $1.74 million in 2008-09. At this time next year, Cleveland must decide whether to exercise the option on the fourth year of Simmons’ deal, which would pay him $2.67 million for the 2009-10 season.
A left ankle bone bruise has prevented the 6-9, 235-pounder from playing much since he was acquired from New Orleans on Sept. 9, but the Cavs decided at the time they sent David Wesley and cash to the Hornets that they wanted to have the 21-year-old for at least two seasons.
“Cedric is an intriguing player for us,” Ferry said.
Simmons, taken by the Hornets with the No. 15 pick in the 2006 draft out of North Carolina State, is long, lean and has great athletic ability, but his basketball skills are still very raw, especially at the offensive end. In 43 career games (four starts), the second-year pro has averaged 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Brown has appeared in 24 games for the Cavs (five starts) and has averaged 3.0 points, but he’s not a good ballhandler or shooter, is an even worse passer and decision-maker and doesn’t operate well within the framework of the offense.
The 21-year-old is strong and athletic, but on a team that already has Larry Hughes, Daniel Gibson, Devin Brown, Damon Jones, Eric Snow and Sasha Pavlovic, he doesn’t figure to get too many playing opportunities.
Brown did play six minutes in the Cavs’ 92-74 season-opening loss to Dallas on Wednesday, but he struggled mightily, going 0-for-5 from the field with two turnovers, two fouls and no assists.
With Pavlovic now having signed a three-year deal that will pay him more than $12 million, Brown is likely to spend long stretches on the bench or even the inactive list.
Pavlovic, however, will not be in uniform tonight at 7:30 when the Cavs host the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. He had to go to Buffalo on Thursday to obtain a Canadian visa, then headed to Toronto to obtain a U.S. work visa. The 6-7, 239-pounder could be back in time to attend tonight’s game, but he won’t play because he has yet to practice with the Cavs.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.