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Cavaliers get tough, add guard



Published: Wed, September 6, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The 14-year veteran signed a two-year deal with the team.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to get tougher this summer. After being bullied at times last season and pushed around by Detroit during their NBA playoff series, they had no choice.

On Tuesday, they added some teeth.

"I'm like a pit bull," guard David Wesley said. "I'll bite a leg if I have to."

Wesley, a 14-year veteran and excellent defender, outsider shooter and leader, signed a two-year contract with the Cavaliers, a deal that gives coach Mike Brown a multitude of backcourt options.

Wesley averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 71 games -- 59 starts -- for Houston last season.

With the Cavs, his main role will likely be as starting point guard Eric Snow's backup.

However, the 35-year-old Wesley is also an effective 3-point shooter and tough-nosed, get-down-on-the-floor defender, something the Cavs didn't have nearly enough of last season.

"He's going to be a great addition to our team from an Xs and Os standpoint, adding shooting and adding defense," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said.

"But with David it's more than that. He's a pro's pro. He'll bring something to the locker room, something to the practice court, traveling, whatever it is."

Added role players

Ferry used some of the club's mid-level exception money to sign Wesley and forward/center Scot Pollard, another role player who isn't afraid to do the little things to win.

"Both of those guys bring a little edge on the court that can help make us better and something we needed to add," Ferry said.

Wesley's addition temporarily gives the Cavaliers more guards than they have room for on their roster. He joins Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, rookies Shannon Brown and Daniel Gibson, Stephen Graham and Eddie Basden.

The club also has swingmen Sasha Pavlovic, Luke Jackson and Ira Newble.

Ferry, though, isn't worried about the perceived logjam and is confident playing time will be sorted out by Brown and his staff.

Early in the free-agent signing period, Wesley got a call from Brown who explained his potential role with the club.

Later, during a meeting with the Cavs' second-year coach and Ferry, Wesley realized Cleveland was a good fit for him -- and he for the team.

"I am older and I'm not trying to set any records," he said, still sweating after playing some pickup games with Snow, Donyell Marshall and others at Quicken Loans Arena. "I'm trying to just come in, blend in and do my job."

Wesley's scoring average last season marked the first time since his second year in the NBA that he didn't average double digits. But he made 99-of-271 3-pointers (Snow hit one), and is ranked ninth among active players in made 3-pointers.




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