According to a radio report out of Sacramento yesterday afternoon, the Cavaliers are on the verge of signing veteran big man Scot Pollard to a one year deal worth 2.2 million dollars.
The purported signing was reported by 1140 AM's "Sportsline with Grant Napear and Mike Lamb" show late yesterday afternoon.
Before playing the last three seasons in Indiana, Pollard played five seasons in Sacramento, where he achieved cult status due to his flamboyant and eccentric nature. The former fan favorite was rumored to potentially be heading back to Sacramento, but it now appears he is heading here to Cleveland to try and help LeBron James and the boys win a championship this season.
Assuming this report is accurate, Pollard will provide much needed depth and toughness to the soft Cavalier front line. Pollard is a 31 year old nine year veteran out of Kansas, and was the 19th overall pick in the 1997 draft by the Pistons. He played for Detroit for one season, then spent the next five in Sacramento, before coming over to the Pacers. He has made a career off hustling, banging, defending, rebounding, and taking all the toughest defensive assignments against the league's most vaunted big men. In other words, he's the Anti-Ilgauskas.
Pollard battled injuries last season, missing 37 games due to back problems and plantar fasciitis in both feet. When healthy, he started 32 of the 45 games he played in for the Pacers, averaging 3.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, and shooting 46% from the floor and 76% from the foul line. He averaged almost a steal a game, which is no small feat for a big man, and committed just 26 turnovers all season. When healthy, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle started Pollard against teams with strong offensive big men, and played him roughly 20 minutes a night. Mike Brown spent two seasons with Pollard as the associate head coach of the Pacers before coming over to Cleveland.
Pollard is sure to be a fan favorite in Cleveland, as he has been pretty much everywhere he's played in his career. He's a max hustle guy who also has no problem playing the enforcer role. He has long arms, rebounds well, and loves to run the floor.
In addition to being an incredibly eccentric personality, Pollard has become known for his zany, and constantly changing hairstyles. He's worn a mohawk, a ponytail, a double ponytail, and the samurai style hairdo pictured above. He spent a good portion of last year with a bald head and large goatee. He's busted out a fumanchu. He loves the porkchop sideburns. In college at Kansas, he painted his fingernails different exotic colors each game.
If this report is accurate, Pollard's 2.2 million dollar salary for next season will come off the team's mid level-exemption, which allows them to spend roughly 5.2 million dollars on free agents despite being over the salary cap. While the team still needs a point guard, the popular speculation is that they will try to acquire that piece via trade, as spending any more of the mid-level exemption will cause the Cavaliers to exceed the luxury tax threshold, which becomes a costly endeavor for owner Dan Gilbert.
There is still some talk that the team will try and lure David Wesley away from the Rockets, and that they are dangling Damon Jones and Sasha Pavlovic out there to try and acquire a more true point guard in exchange.