INDEPENDENCE — Jamario Moon is now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Miami Heat elected Friday not to match the three-year, $8.9 million offer sheet Moon signed with Cleveland a week earlier, so the 6-foot-8,
200-pounder is now officially part of the Wine & Gold.
Moon will earn $2.75 million in 2009-10 and also has a guaranteed deal for 2010-11, but only part of the third and final season of the pact is guaranteed.
A late bloomer, the 29-year-old has played just two NBA seasons. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds while splitting time with Toronto and Miami last season.
In Cleveland, the hope is that Moon will provide much-needed size and athleticism off the bench, where he will serve mainly as a backup to starting small forward LeBron James.
The acquisition of Moon should also allow James to play power forward, which would give the Cavaliers an extremely quick and athletic lineup.
“Jamario is going to bring versatility and a high level of athleticism to our team,” Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. “He should be a very good fit to our current roster. We are very happy to have him with us.”
In addition to Moon, the Cavaliers previously signed Anthony Parker, who will start or be the backup at shooting guard, and traded for veteran center Shaquille O’Neal.
That means a team that won an NBA-high 66 regular-season games but lost in the Eastern Conference finals will have three new faces among its top nine players in 2009-10.
The Cavaliers, who also re-signed their own unrestricted free agent, power forward Anderson Varejao, now have 13 players under contract: James, O’Neal, Varejao, Moon, Parker, Mo Williams, Delonte West, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Daniel Gibson, J.J. Hickson, Darnell Jackson, Tarence Kinsey and Jawad Williams, with second-round pick Danny Green expected to become the 14th.. Jackson, Kinsey and Jawad Williams, however, don’t have guaranteed deals.
Miami, which recently re-signed center Jamaal Magliore to a one-year contract, is looking to add a point guard, with two possibilities being veterans Jamaal Tinsley and Jason Williams. The Heat also wants to maintain some salary cap flexibility for next summer, so it let Moon walk.
In other Cavaliers-related news, veteran power forward Joe Smith was reportedly in Atlanta talking with Hawks officials, while Ben Wallace is rumored to be getting some interest from Detroit, the team with which he was four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
There’s a chance Smith, who was signed by the Cavaliers last season after he was bought out of his contract by Oklahoma City, could return to Cleveland if he doesn’t get a better offer elsewhere.
Wallace was traded to Phoenix as part of the deal that brought O’Neal to Cleveland. The Suns subsequently bought out the final year of Wallace’s contract, which would have paid him $14 million. Like Smith, he is now an unrestricted free agent.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.