When the Cavaliers traded for Antawn Jamison, it was supposed to be the move that brought them a championship, the final piece of the puzzle for LeBron James to bring a title to Cleveland. Instead, Jamison never showed the ability he had when he was younger, couldn’t adjust to the system fast enough, and had his tail kicked in by Kevin Garnett. Then he was a big contract on a losing team after LeBron journeyed to the center of his ego down in Miami. For two years he’s been the biggest name (at least until two weeks into this season when it became clear Kyrie Irving is the mother freaking truth) in Cleveland, a low-efficiency scorer that most Cavs fans have been frustrated with, from a usage and production standpoint.
But he’s played well overall. He’s contributed. The Cavaliers have hung around the 8th spot in the East for most of the season, and Jamison has been a big part of that. And Jamison has been a benefit to the Cavs’ culture. He’s a locker room leader and someone to help mentor the younger players. He’s taken an active role in mentoring Tristan Thompson, something he was under no obligation to do.
And as much as the Cavaliers rightfully shopped him at the trade deadline, they didn’t move his expiring contract. Not only that, but The Morning Journal in Ohio reports that the Cavs could bring back Jamison next year for a lesser salary hit.
With that being said, it’s not totally out of the question that they re-sign Jamison to a cap-friendly contract starting around $5 million. The Cavs would have to be clear with the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder that they are committed to Tristan Thompson as being the starter at power forward next year.
If Jamison would agree to come off the bench and continue to mentor young players like Thompson, it wouldn’t be totally outlandish for him to return.
Jamison might get some bigger offers from contenders. He might get an offer from a team looking to give him slightly more for what he did in Cleveland this year. But him finishing his career in the relative quiet of Cleveland might be a great situation for him. It does show you that there’s value to players beyond shots and rebounds. And if the Cavs were to eventually win a title, Jamison is one of those guys who really deserve it for the upstanding way he’s handled his career.