CLEVELAND (AP) -Dejected over not getting to play in Minnesota with Kevin Garnett, Juwan Howard could end up a teammate of another superstar: LeBron James.
Howard, a 13-year veteran forward whose contract was bought out by the Timberwolves on Monday, would fit nicely with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are desperate for experienced frontline help.
With restricted free agent Anderson Varejao still unsigned in a messy contract holdout, the defending Eastern Conference champions have been exploring the possibility of signing Howard to improve their depth before Wednesday's season opener against the Dallas Mavericks.
``I hope we get him,'' James said after practice Monday. ``He can help us. We need a guy to play down low.''
Howard has averaged 16.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in his career. Last season, he averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 26 minutes for Houston.
The Rockets traded him to Minnesota in June for guard Mike James. Howard had wanted to play with Garnett and spoke with regret about choosing Orlando over Minnesota the last time he was a free agent.
But when the Timberwolves pulled off their blockbuster deal and sent Garnett to Boston in July, Howard made it clear he was not interested in being part of a youth movement in Minnesota. He requested a trade, but the Wolves found no takers for Howard, who was owed $6.88 million this year and $7.38 million next year.
The Cavaliers might be able to get him for much less.
``Any time you can bring in a veteran like Juwan with his playing ability and character, you have to explore that,'' Cavs coach Mike Brown said.
The Cavs made two other moves to finalize their opening-day roster, signing swingman Demetris Nichols and waiving forward Noel Felix.
The club did not disclose contract terms on Nichols, who averaged 4.8 points in five exhibition games with the New York Knicks, who waived him last week.
His addition will give Brown more bench depth. He could also help offset the loss of forward Sasha Pavlovic, a restricted free agent, who like Varejao, remains unsigned in a contract dispute.
The 6-foot-8 Nichols averaged 18.9 points last season at Syracuse and was a first-team All-Big East selection. Nichols, 23, was taken by Portland with the No. 53 overall pick before he was traded on draft day to New York for a second-round selection.
Felix played in three preseason games, averaging 2.7 points.
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