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The entire NBA seems to be on hold until Erick Dampier makes up his mind.
The unrestricted free agent center is negotiating with several teams in the league. But until he lands somewhere, none of the other big men seem to be going anywhere, either. Teams vying for Dampier include Atlanta, Memphis, Indiana and New York.
Even though the Cavaliers are not entered in the Dampier sweepstakes, they seem to be locked in an impasse until he finds a home. One source said Dampier might sign a one-year deal for the mid-level exception this summer and become a free agent next summer.
According to a league source, the Cavaliers have targeted Iakovos Jake Tsakalidis to be their backup center behind starter Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
The 7-foot-2, 285-pounder is a restricted free agent. The Grizzlies hold his rights, but would like to use him and power forward Stromile Swift, another restricted free agent, in a sign-and-trade with Golden State for Dampier.
Memphis president Jerry West is hoarding players like chess pieces. He has 16 guaranteed contracts now, not counting Tsakalidis and Swift. West can't keep more than 15 on the roster once the season starts.
The source said the Cavaliers don't appear to be in any hurry to sign a backup center. They are willing to let the scenario play out with the Grizzlies. If Memphis can't get anything done or decide he's not in its plans, there's a remote possibility it could drop the restricted designation on Tsakalidis.
Another restricted free agent available is Atlanta's Joel Przybilla (7-1, 255), but he's been injury prone in his career.
One center that can be had in a trade is Indiana's Scot Pollard (6-11, 265), although Atlanta is also interested in trading for him. He has two years and almost $12 million remaining on his contract, which might scare off the Cavaliers. Indiana might be so willing to dump Pollard's salary that it would take back a draft pick and money for his services.
Cleveland has about $4 million remaining on its mid-level exception this summer. The Cavaliers had some interest in Tsakalidis in the 2000 draft, but were scared off by a contract snafu with his team in Greece (A.E.K.). He ended up being drafted 25th overall to Phoenix.
Tsakalidis, from the Republic of Georgia, could demand a contract in the neighborhood of $2 million or $3 million this season.
Tsakalidis, 25, is one of the strongest players in the league. With Shaquille O'Neal coming to the Eastern Conference this season, he'd be a welcomed addition to the team. However, he's very limited offensively.
The Cavaliers supposedly don't want to take on any long-term, hefty contracts so they'll have salary-cap flexibility next summer.
They could also sign a veteran center like Sean Rooks or Corie Blount, if they choose to go the cheap route.
in this article, it says, "One source said Dampier might sign a one-year deal for the mid-level exception this summer and become a free agent next summer." and thats the only thing the pacers can offer. so the chances of dampier are getting a little bit better.