The Cleveland Cavaliers are continuing their effort to put a team around LeBron James that can compete for a championship. It appears that their latest target is NBA veteran Shawn Marion, who has been with the Dallas Mavericks for the last five seasons. Marion is currently a free agent, and he was in Cleveland this afternoon.
Rumors about Marion's visit began circulating on Twitter this morning.
Little birdie just told me Shawn Marion on a flight to Cleveland fwiw (h/t@amazingtickets)— TA (@ClevTA) August 4, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein confirmed the rumors this afternoon.
ESPN sources say Shawn Marion is in Cleveland today on recruiting visit with Cavaliers— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 4, 2014
Marion is a top-shelf free agent who remains unsigned and Cavs, I'm told, are pursuing the former Phoenix & Dallas defensive ace for depth— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 4, 2014
The 36-year-old Marion played in 76 games with Dallas last season. He averaged 31.7 minutes, 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 48% from the field and 36% on threes. Even at his advanced age, he's still considered to be an elite defender. The Cavs would be fortunate to have Marion no matter what happens, but they will be especially happy if they end up trading Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Marion was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1999, and he spent his first eight seasons there. Cleveland GM David Griffin worked for the Suns during that time.
Because the Cavs already used the room exception on Mike Miller, they can only offer Marion the veteran's minimum. That would be a significant pay cut from the $40 million deal that Marion signed with the Mavericks in 2009.