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Old 07-26-2004, 12:26 AM
stevo stevo is online now
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Default Gooden has plenty of baggage in tow

Gooden has plenty of baggage in tow
Sunday, July 25, 2004
While Cavaliers manage ment publicly dances around the issue, why - really - is newly acquired forward Drew Gooden now on his third team in just two years?

Word is it's because Gooden has wasted little time earning a rep around the NBA as one of the league's biggest partiers - a guy who seems more enthusiastic about hitting spots after games than he does hitting the boards during them.



And Gooden also comes with a sizeable personal entourage, one that causes constant headaches and ranks among the NBA's most obnoxious.

To be fair, Gooden, a college All-American at Kansas, hasn't been a total NBA flop. During his two pro seasons, he's recorded a respectable 12.0 scoring average.

But for an overall No. 4 draft pick in 2002, Gooden has been an underachiever. And that's a big reason why neither of Gooden's previous two teams, Memphis and Orlando, could tolerate his off-court baggage for long.

The Cavs acquired Gooden from Orlando in a multiplayer deal that sent Tony Battie to the Magic.

Cavs big man

DeSagana Diop, now entering his fourth season, has the look of a soon-to-be-former Cav. The kiss of death for Diop surely came when General Manager Jim Paxson recently admitted the player isn't ready to be a starting NBA center. Previously, Paxson - who made Diop a 2001 first-round pick - would make endless excuses for the center's slow progress.

You can bet Cavs

coach Paul Silas shed few tears when the team traded reserve swingman Kedrick Brown and backup point guard Kevin Ollie to Philadelphia for guard Eric Snow. It's no secret Silas regarded Brown as a complainer and a growing cancer in the locker room. And, fairly or not, Silas never seemed to forgive Ollie for performing poorly last year, especially when starting point guard Jeff McInnis got hurt late in the season.

Snow, part 2:

The Cavs deserve credit for acquiring the veteran point guard. Snow, a former Canton McKinley High star, approaches basketball with a coach's mentality, and many think he's future NBA head-coaching material.

The jury's out on how

much impact Kenny Natt, the new Cavs assistant coach, will have on Silas' staff this season. Word is one reason former Cavs assistant coach Bob Donewald was fired after this past season was because the team's other two assistants, Mark Osowski and Stephen Silas, weren't happy that Donewald had so much input on game strategy, and privately lobbied for his dismissal.

Put this in the

"Best trades are often those not made" department: During the winter, Indians management was briefly kicking itself for allowing Milwaukee to beat it to the punch and trade for second baseman Junior Spivey, forcing the Indians to pursue Ronnie Belliard as another second-base option. But while Spivey has played decent ball for Milwaukee, he hasn't been nearly as good as Belliard, an American League All-Star.

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