August 31, 2014

Elyria
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Cavaliers waiting, hoping until roster moratorium ends

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers and the rest of the NBA are on the clock.

Just two days remain until the league’s annual roster moratorium ends, meaning the time is now to finalize free-agent deals.

In Cleveland’s case, however, that might be easier said than done.

The Cavaliers are one of a handful of teams stuck in limbo because of Hedo Turkoglu’s decision to back out of a verbal agreement with Portland, then make a non-binding commitment to sign with Toronto.

Though Turkoglu insists he will put pen to paper on a five-year, $53 million contract with the Raptors, until he actually does it, other lesser dominoes will not fall.

Among them are Toronto shooting guard Anthony Parker and power forward Shawn Marion — both of whom are on Cleveland’s wish list.

The Raptors currently do not have space under the salary cap to fit in Orlando playoff star Turkoglu, but can make room by renouncing the rights to at least three of their free agents.

Parker and Marion are virtually certain to be cast aside and have their “cap holds” removed by Toronto, which would eliminate sign-and-trade possibilities. More importantly, it would allow both unrestricted free agents to have their value set solely by the marketplace.

Conventional wisdom around the NBA is that the 34-year-old Parker can be had for less than the mid-level exception of $5.6 million, while the 31-year-old Marion is asking for a multiyear deal above that figure.

The Cavaliers would only pursue Marion if they reach an impasse with free-agent power forward Anderson Varejao, who has spent his entire career in Cleveland, but passed on his $6.2 million option for 2009-10.

Other power forward options include unrestricted free agents Antonio McDyess of Detroit, Drew Gooden of San Antonio and Channing Frye of Portland, and restricted free agents Linas Kleiza of Denver and Marvin Williams of Atlanta. Pistons instigator Rasheed Wallace is also still in play, having left a wine-and-dine tour of Boston without coming to terms with the Celtics.

One thing is clear: The wine and gold will do something in the near future.

With megastars LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal entering the final year of their contracts, a sense of urgency hangs over every aspect of the Cavaliers organization.

“We have to focus on this team right now,” general manager Danny Ferry said. “We have to focus on getting an established player.”

Coach Mike Brown echoed that sentiment: “Any time you can acquire veteran help, you go do it.”

Fast facts

James joined rap mogul and good friend Jay-Z on stage at his Friday night concert at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. Also spotted in the audience was pop princess Rihanna, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. James sang along with Jay-Z — a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets — late in his performance to the delight of the crowd.

… Former Pacers backup center David Harrison is expected to join Cleveland’s summer league team.

… The NBA schedule is slated to be released in early August.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.