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Cavaliers Testing Free-Agent Center Market

Brian Windhorst reports that the Cavaliers are in the market for another center, just a week before the start of training camp. In addition to discussing contract parameters with restricted-free agent Kyrylo Fesenko, the team hosted a workout for Earl Barron, Chris Hunter, and Greg Stiemsma.

The 7-foot-1 Fesenko won’t turn 24 until Christmas Eve, but has already played three NBA seasons, all with the Utah Jazz, who have the right to match any offer Fesenko receives from another team. He has per-game averages of 2.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks, playing about 8 minutes per contest. Given a larger role in last year’s playoffs—the Jazz’s starting center, Mehmet Okur, was injured—his minutes more than doubled to 18 per game, yet he still only averaged 3.3 points and 3.9 boards. His biggest problem is staying on the court, as on average he fouls once per every 4.8 minutes he plays. But as a project big man, the Cavaliers could certainly do worse.

Barron, a 29-year-old veteran of two teams in four seasons, broke out for the New York Knicks after signing with them last April. In seven appearances—with six starts—Barron averaged an 11.7-point, 11-rebound double-double in 33.1 minutes per game, by far the best productivity of his career. Of concern for the Cavaliers, however, is his poor shooting percentage, as he converted a mere 44.1 percent of his shots last season, and posts a career mark of 38.7 percent.

Hunter made his NBA debut last season for the injury-stricken Golden State Warriors, averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game in 60 appearances.

Stiemsma has yet to play at the NBA level, though he did join the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster for the final two games of last season. Prior to signing there, he had a stellar season for the Sioux Fall Skyforce, leading the NBA D-League in shot-blocking at 3.5 per game en route to winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Though he likely won’t ever develop into an offensive force, his D-League performance suggests he could become an above-average defensive center at the NBA level. In a competitive Eastern Conference which includes the likes of Andrew Bogut, Al Horford, Dwight Howard, and Brook Lopez looking to score from the low block, such a defensive commodity could prove valuable.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.