September 30, 2014

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Cavaliers: Team tabs Clark as free agency opens

CLEVELAND — Los Angeles Lakers power forward Earl Clark has become the Cavaliers’ first target in free agency.
The 6-foot-10, 225-pounder is scheduled to work out today at Cleveland Clinic Courts, according to a Twitter post from his agent, Kevin Bradbury. Clark’s visit with the Cavaliers was first reported by Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
Clark averaged 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 59 games, including 36 starts, last winter with the Lakers. The four-year NBA veteran previously played for the Suns and Magic, but has only made 41.4 percent of his career field goal attempts and 67.6 percent of his free throws.
Current Cleveland coach Mike Brown started the 2012-2013 season in the same position with the Lakers, and recommended Clark to Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant.
If Cleveland signs Clark, it almost certainly means one of its returning big men — center Anderson Varejao, center Tyler Zeller or power forward Tristan Thompson — will be traded this summer.
Power forward Anthony Bennett is all but guaranteed to remain with the Cavaliers after being chosen with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft last week.
Unrestricted free agent Clark is seeking a multi-year contract and could command $3 million annually, which would still leave Cleveland almost $20 million under the salary cap. Free agents can officially sign on July 10.
The Cavaliers also reportedly reached out to 76ers center Andrew Bynum and Nets point guard C.J. Watson shortly after the start of free agency at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Both are likely to sign elsewhere, with Watson high on the wish list of the Knicks.
Cleveland did pick up the $2.23 million option year on swingman C.J. Miles’ contract, according to the NBA league office, though the team has yet to announce the move. The deadline to do so was Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
The Cavaliers’ refusal to confirm Miles’ return had the affable pro — and many fans — at a loss for words Monday evening.
“I know as much as you (all) do,” he tweeted. “Hopefully, I won’t have to move.”
Cleveland did, however, rush to release news about the site of one of its preseason games.
The Cavaliers will play Charlotte on Oct. 15 at the Canton Civic Center — the home of its owned-and-operated NBA D-League franchise, the Canton Charge.
Last season, Cleveland hosted Milwaukee in exhibition play and drew a sellout crowd in its first-ever game in Canton.
Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com