While Kevin Love is expected to be the final big piece to help LeBron James lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title, the big man from Minnesota has yet to officially arrive in Ohio. On Sunday, though, the Cavs got a firmer commitment from another forward, as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that free agent Shawn Marion has agreed to sign on the dotted line:
Cavs can only offer minimum deal to Shawn Marion but sources say chance to play with LeBron and play for a title trumped all other offers
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 17, 2014
At 36, Marion won’t be a frontline show piece for the Cavs unless something goes wrong on their way toward destiny, but he brings solid defense and tons of experience. In a 15-year NBA career, Marion has logged 103 playoff games, including 38 with the Dallas Mavericks over the last five years.
Even in his mid-30s, Marion has been a durable force, logging nearly 32 minutes per game over 76 contests in 2013-14. He won’t see that kind of playing time in Cleveland but should provide much-needed depth at a bargain price.
Marion should also provide some extra veteran leadership for a generally very young team, Love and LeBron notwithstanding. Fourth-year point guard Kyrie Irving is a superstar in the making, but questions remain about his defense. Just 22 and coming off a stint with Team USA, Iriving has plenty of time to improve and should benefit from seeing Marion banging the boards on a nightly basis.
Marion has obviously bought into the notion that the Cavaliers are already poised for a title run because he could surely have made a good deal more with other teams, including the suddenly Paul George-less Indiana Pacers. Instead, Marion, is working for peanuts in order to play with The King and Co. as they reach for a ring (or three).
And so the Cavs continue to accumulate pieces to help LeBron rebuild/continue his Cleveland legacy, building for both the future and this season. In the process, local NBA fans win, too.
If all goes as planned, Ohio should see its first pro championship in a quarter century by the time next sumer rolls around.