The Cleveland Cavaliers have added another chapter to their monumental offseason. Per Marc Stein of ESPN, Shawn Marion has chosen the Cleveland Cavaliers:
ESPN sources say Shawn Marion has committed this weekend to sign with the Cavaliers— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 17, 2014
Despite being 36 years old, this signing is tremendous. Marion played over 2400 minutes last year, still plays excellent defense, and is a very smart player. Much has been made of the Cavaliers lack of rim protection, but the lack of defense on the wings was perhaps a bigger concern. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Mike Miller struggle defensively, and LeBron James shouldn't have to carry you on that end. Marion should have a big impact in being able to guard the opposing team's top wing.
His other role will likely be in small ball lineups where he can guard power forwards for stretches next to LeBron James. The Miami Heat were nearly unbeatable the last three seasons when they put LeBron at the 4 in a point forward role. With Marion, the Cavaliers can recreate this, and actually improve on it. Marion isn't a good three point shooter, but is capable to the point that teams can't just leave him all alone. Of course, against this Cavaliers team, they might not have a choice.
At this point, Marion is a low usage, smart player who defends. That's exactly what the Cavaliers need. Given that the Cavaliers likely have LeBron James for life, players who can make his job a little easier like Marion can help extend his career. It isn't crazy, anymore, to think that the Cavaliers can limit James' regular season minutes to 32 or so minutes a game. Marion might seem like a win now move, and it is, but if the Cavs play it right it could help them extend their window of contention down the line as well.
We don't know about the contract yet, but the most the Cavaliers can offer Marion straight up is the veteran's minimum, which is about $1.4 million. We will keep you updated as we learn more.