Cavs get cap space via trade
GM Danny Ferry traded Jiri Welsch and got a 7-foot-3 center from Orlando.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- In his first NBA draft as a general manager, Danny Ferry traded a forward, put another $2 million in his pocket for free agents and acquired a center from Lithuania.
Not bad for a rookie.
After feverishly working the phones in the second round trying to make a trade Tuesday night, Ferry, who made his first deal as Cleveland's GM before the draft, met with reporters at Gund Arena to say he had failed to pull off a second deal.
"We were very active," Ferry said. "People didn't want to give away their picks, though."
Then, Ferry found out he had a trading partner.
Early Wednesday, the Cavaliers announced that they had traded a 2006 second-round pick to Orlando for center Martynas Andriuskevicius (pronounced mahr-TEEN'-us an-droo-KEV'-eh-choos), who was selected with the 44th pick by the Magic.
Earlier, Ferry picked up another selection for next year when he dealt Jiri Welsch to the Bucks for a second-round pick in 2006 and cash.
Not blockbuster trades. And not ones that will get panned like the Ferry-for-Ron Harper deal that still haunts some Cleveland fans. But by ridding the Cavs of Welsch, Ferry freed up more money for free agency and dislodged a logjam at small forward.
And in getting Andriuskevicius, Ferry added a raw, but talented big man who was talked about as a lottery pick last year.
"He needs to get stronger," Ferry said. "He's a bit of a work in progress. But there aren't many 7-foot-3 people in the world and there aren't many 7-foot-3 centers who can do what he does.
"I know one."
Ferry was referring to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, his former teammate who is an unrestricted free agent. Ferry is hopeful Ilgauskas will re-sign with Cleveland this summer.
The departure of Welsch, who averaged just 2.9 points in 16 games for Cleveland last season, leaves the Cavaliers with just seven players under contract and a payroll of roughly $21 million.
Room to help
With next season's salary cap projected as high as $50 million, the Cavaliers will have nearly $29 million to dish out when free agency opens on Friday.
That should be more than enough to get some help for star LeBron James, who carried the team last season but couldn't get the Cavs to the playoffs.
"Our mantra was cap flexibility," Ferry said in explaining the Welsch deal.
He spent the second round on the phone and didn't find any takers until the Magic agreed to swap Andriuskevicius for one of the two second-round picks Cleveland had in 2006.
Ferry, who spent the past two seasons as San Antonio's director of basketball operations, only had one day to prepare for his first draft as GM. He had to lean on Cavs' player personnel director Mark Warkentien, who spent the past two months working out players and planning Cleveland's strategy after GM Jim Paxson was fired following the season.
Now that the draft is behind him, Ferry's focus will quickly switch to free agency.
The Cavs' surplus of salary-cap space will allow them to surround James with more talent this summer. Last week, James said he hoped to have input into the club's decision making and rattled off Michael Redd, Ray Allen, Larry Hughes, Joe Johnson and Eddy Curry as players he would like to see pursued.