Cleveland act to keep trio on roster
AUSTRALIAN guard Matthew Dellavedova, whose gritty play and determination won fans worldwide in the National Basketball Association Finals, was among three players who received qualifying offers on Tuesday from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Forward Tristan Thompson and guard Iman Shumpert also received qualifying offers from the Cavaliers, meaning the club will have the right to match any offer sheet the free agents receive from another club and keep them on the roster.
The Cavaliers, who lost to Golden State in the NBA Finals, also announced that swingman Mike Miller, a three-point sharpshooter, has exercised his player option to return for the 2015-16 season.
The moves all came on the eve of the start of free agency in the NBA.
Teams could start negotiating deals with players from yesterday, but nothing can be signed until July 9.
That gives the NBA time to calculate the exact salary cap limit for teams for the 2015-16 season and clubs time to see who signs where and respond accordingly.
Dellavedova played in 67 games last season, 13 of them as a starter, averaging 4.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes a game, hitting a career-best 40.7 per cent from three-point range.
But in the play-off run to the NBA Finals, the Aussie averaged 7.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in nearly 245 minutes a game, filling in for injured Kyrie Irving in the championship series.
Shumpert was obtained in a trade with New York and averaged 8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals a game for the regular season. In the play-offs, he averaged 9.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 steals.
Miller, 35, played sparingly in a relief role for Cleveland. He has played in 965 career games with Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota, Washington, Miami and the Cavs, averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists a contest.
Meanwhile, Luke Ridnour is on the way to his fifth team in a week, after the latest trade deal for the 34-year-old American guard, this one sending him to Canada.
The Oklahoma City Thunder dealt Ridnour to the Toronto Raptors for the rights to Croatian forward Tomislav Zubcic, taken by Toronto with the 56th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.