- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio Five observations from Cleveland Cavaliers training camp, based on an Oct. 8-9 visit:
Keeping LeBron happy: Zydrunas Ilgauskas will be a free agent in July. So will Jeff McInnis. Yet there is really only one free agent who dominates the night-and-day thoughts of Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson. That would be LeBron James, who can't even hit the open market until the summer of 2009 at the earliest.
"The real key is, we've got to try to win with him here now and keep getting better," Paxson said. "Not that (James) doesn't feel good about (the direction of the franchise), but we don't want to give him any reason not to."
In other words, every personnel move Cleveland management makes is made with the hope of pleasing LBJ.
It must be said, then, that James should be at least moderately pleased by Cleveland's recovery after the Carlos Boozer defection, with Drew Gooden, Eric Snow, Lucious Harris and Tractor Traylor among the veterans brought in to lend depth to a club that was woefully thin last season.
"It's so sweet," Silas purred, so happy to have some experience on his bench.
A lack of depth was the killer for Cleveland last spring, when Silas had no more than four or five dependable players to use as the Cavs wound up missing the playoffs by one game.
1dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann