Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spending sports money Cleveland style

The contract the Cavaliers handed brittle center Andrew Bynum could be worth as much as $24.5 million over two years.

A generous offer indeed. But if Bynum plays two years in Cleveland, he will still be far from Cleveland's richest sports newcomer.

The Cavaliers, Browns and Indians have signed 19 free agents for a combined $266,240,000 million since last December. The deals demonstrate the days of sports frugality in Cleveland might be ending.

Indians Nick Swisher (four years, $56 million) and Michael Bourn (four years, $48 million) are the biggest winners in the recent spending spree. Swisher and Bourn are fortunate to play a sport without financial limits.

Linebacker Paul Kruger (five years, $40 million) and defensive end Desmond Bryant (five years, $34 million) grabbed a share of Owner Jimmy Haslam's football money. Haslam's non-football money appears to be eroding. As of Thursday night, 20 lawsuits have been filed against Haslam's Pilot Flying J truck stops.

Business must be booming at the Horseshoe Casino, as Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert approved significant deals to Bynum, guard Jarrett Jack (four years, $24.5 million) and forward Earl Clark (two years, $9 million). Somebody besides Chris Grant might be spending Gilbert's money if the Cavaliers miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

Gilbert is easily Cleveland's smartest sports owner. Placing a casino within walking distance of an NBA locker room guarantees future profits, which means he can chase whatever brittle players he wants without experiencing financial regret.

Cleveland might never become New York, where the Yankees committed the ultimate contract sin by signing Alex Rodriguez to 10-year, $275 million.

At least Haslam, Gilbert and whichever Dolan owns the Indians are proving their checkbooks aren't sponsored by Master Lock.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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July 13, 2013 at 8:29 AM 

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