|As Cavaliers wait for new players from trade, they sign 2 others to face Wizards|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 22 February 2008 09:21|
They got here just in time.
With only six healthy players able to suit up, the Cavaliers, who traded six others away in a three-team blockbuster before the deadline, signed Kaniel Dickens and Billy Thomas from the NBA's Developmental League on Friday so they'd have enough players to face the Washington Wizards.
``I've never been in a situation where we called guys up just to be able to play a game,'' Cavs guard Eric Snow said after the morning shootaround. ``It's the NBA, I can't say I'm surprised.''
Dickens was stunned when he got the call while eating lunch in Denver.
``I dropped my fork and my knife, ran out on my bill went home packed some things and made it to the airport,'' he said, joking about the bill. ``It just happened so fast.''
So did Cleveland's trade, which included 11 players, gutted half the Cavs' roster and brought Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak in from Chicago and Joe Smith and Delonte West from Seattle.
James has not yet commented on the megadeal, which Cavs GM Danny Ferry said was necessary to give his team a shot at an NBA title. It was strange watching the Cavs exit the practice floor without any sign of Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, Shannon Brown or Cedric Simmons.
``I was sad to see those guys go,'' center Zydrunas Ilgauskas said. ``We'll have to see how it all works out.''
The four newest Cavaliers must pass physicals before they can play. And even if they're cleared, they won't make their Cleveland debut until Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
In the mean time, coach Mike Brown has to make due with what he's got. Fortunately, he's got James.
``We do have LeBron,'' he said. ``So that does help out.''
Browns understands it may take time for his revamped team to mesh. But except for West, he's getting experienced players who won't need to have their hands held as they learn a new system.
``These guys have been around the block,'' he said. ``They are smart guys and that will make it easier.''
It's a little different for Dickens and Thomas, who both have NBA experience but have logged most their most playing minutes on floors in places like Fayatteville, Mobile, Asheville and Roanoke.
Both were playing for the Colorado 14ers when they got the call to quickly get to Northeast Ohio.
For Dickens, who was averaging 20.4 points, the Cavaliers are just the latest stop on a globe-trotting basketball odyssey. This is the fourth time he's been called up, but his first on a 10-day contract.
He's gotten used to being the new guy.
``I'm used to learning very fast and making adjustments and trying to acclimate to my surroundings, ASAP,'' he said. ``That's part of my job. I take that serious and I take pride in being able to do that.''
One thing he hasn't done before is play with a superstar like James.
``From what I hear, he's going to make it very easy for me,'' Dickens said. ``I just hope I don't get caught up in watching him play. I haven't been on the court with him. I'm looking forward to that. He's going to get a lot of attention and nobody knows who I am, so the onus on me is to knock down shots.''
Dickens played at three colleges, spending his junior and senior years at the University of Idaho. He was drafted by Utah in the second round in the 2000 draft. Since then, he's played in Russia, China, Spain and at countless points between.
Has he ever counted up all his teams?
``No,'' he said. ``I've tried and every time I fall asleep before I finish.''