NBA Cavaliers try to free James
Their trade with Portland allows them to move LeBron James to off-guard.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Darius Miles' stay with the Cavaliers is over, and so is LeBron James' time as a point guard.
Miles, who never seemed to fit in during his 11/2 seasons in Cleveland, was traded Wednesday to the Portland Trail Blazers for guard Jeff McInnis and center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.
The Cavs have been looking for a veteran point guard to take some of the strain off James, who is better suited at off-guard.
Although James, who is expected to miss his second straight game tonight with a sprained right ankle, has been effective playing the point, he commits too many turnovers and struggles defensively against smaller, quicker guards.
McInnis, a dependable scorer and tough-nosed defender, will allow James to play shooting guard.
"We've asked LeBron to do a lot in just his first year," Cavs general manager Jim Paxson said. "We felt that for this team to grow he needed to be moved to his natural position, which is out on the wing where he can create."
The 22-year-old Miles did some creating for the Cavs -- but just not enough.
Miles, who jumped straight from high school to the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in 2000 by the Clippers, showed flashes of skill after coming to the Cavs in a trade with Los Angeles before last season for Andre Miller.
But his tenure with the Cavs was plagued by inconsistency, and first-year Cleveland coach Paul Silas had reduced his role after starting him earlier this season.
McInnis, 29, gives Cleveland some depth and another veteran to surround James.
He averaged 11.9 points and 5.0 assists in 32.5 minutes per game this season, but had his playing time reduced recently when Derek Anderson returned from the injured list.
"Jeff is one of those guys who will step in and do a good job for us," said Paxson, who doesn't expect McInnis and Boumtje-Boumtje to be available until Friday.
McInnis will split time with Kevin Ollie at point, but may soon be starting.
Paxson said the Cavs didn't want to wait until the off-season to try and add a point guard. They were afraid if they had waited, they wouldn't have been able to get a player of McInnis' quality.
"We feel he is as good a point guard as we were going to get," said Paxson, who had been interested in signing McInnis two years ago as a free agent.
Boumtje-Boumtje, 25, has been playing less than three minutes per game. He was on the injured list most of last season.
The Cavaliers placed rookie Jason Kapono on the injured list to make room for Boumtje-Boumtje, who will be a free agent after this season.