Originally posted on Stepien Rules  |  Last updated 7/7/13
It was a Saturday afternoon in Cleveland when news first broke of the Jackquisition. I was on a volleyball court at a family-oriented, 30-year-old birthday party. Moments earlier, while entrenched in a battle for game-point, I was sent plummeting to the ground as I slipped on the grass. "You really shouldn't be wearing your shoes out here," my teammates told me, as they stormed off the court in defeat. The final set was intended for me, though I'd never strike it. Laying in the grass, I pondered my critical mistake as the ball rolled slowly away. Meanwhile, somewhere in California, an optimistic distraction was emerging. The phone in my pocket alerted me to the news.   According to Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times, eight-year NBA combo guard Jarrett Jack had reportedly reached an agreement to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was being called a four-year deal worth $25 million.  As the piercing embarrassment of my fall subsided, David Aldridge of NBA.com told us why Jack chose Cleveland over other suitors. "Basically, the person that spearheaded the deal was Mike Brown," Jack said. "Chris Grant asked who he wanted, and the only person he brought up was me. To start off with a vote of confidence with the coach is big. I know what they have there with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. It seems like an organization that's first class, from everybody I've spoken with. It's time for a new challenge for me." Jack would go on to tell Aldridge that, "I've always been a fan of Brown's from a distance, as a coach and as a person. It'll be cool to get an up close and personal view." If Mike Brown could get up after two embarrassing terminations sent him spiraling on the backyard volleyball court of life, I thought, to now recruit free agents to Cleveland, then I can dust the grass stains off my khaki shorts and rejoin the party. There was, afterall, reason to celebrate. Jarrett Jack is the best thing that could've happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the free agency summer of 2013. How Jack fits with the Cavs Jarrett Jack will help Kyrie Irving win basketball games while forcing Dion Waiters to develop the professional consistency needed to become an elite player in the NBA. Typically, the term "combo guard" is used to describe players like Mo Williams who are essentially shooting guards but can handle well enough to play the point. What has always made Jack special and unique, however, is that he's a cerebral point guard who is also capable of playing the two.  Irving can now rest during games without a white flag being simultaneously waved to signal a temporary stoppage in competition. He can also be moved off the ball, alongside Jack, as scoring opportunities present themselves.  For Waiters, Jack provides a veteran presence that will only aid his development during year two and beyond. Through a professional approach to practice, as well as his in-game contributions, Jack is the type of player who will help the Cavs young backcourt develop while also helping them compete. He's different in that way from the Cavs veterans of recent years, like Anthony Parker and Luke Walton, in that Jack can actually play, too. What Jack's free agent signing represents for the Cavs' rebuild I received an email last week from someone suggesting the Cavaliers should pursue Jack in free agency. I replied by saying, "I love Jack's game, have been a huge fan since his days at Georgia Tech, but there is no way he's choosing the Cavaliers. He's more likely to sign with a contender and fill a similar role to the one he did last year with Golden State." But then the Warriors signed free agent Andre Iguodala, renounced Jack's rights, and he decided the best thing for his career is to align himself with Mike Brown.  The new, improved, swagged out Mike Brown who drops one-liners in press conferences while luring free agents to Cleveland. For any doubt surrounding the direction of an organization who's taken perceived risks in the draft on an annual basis by selecting Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and now Anthony Bennett--along with re-hiring a coach they once fired--the Jack signing is tangible evidence that players around the league respect what Chris Grant is building. During the LeBron James era, for example, Jarrett Jack--even at 29 years old--would qualify as the best free agent signed by Cleveland from 2003 to 2010. Especially when considering the price-point Jack was acquired. All due respect, of course, to Larry Hughes, Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall. At just over $6 million annually, Jack may have been slightly overpaid when compared to the $20 million he earned on his last four-year contract. But the Cavaliers have put themselves in a position to afford a player like him, at that number, based on the salary cap flexibility they've created. He helps improve this team now while not impeding the Cavs ability to pursue a marquee free agent next summer. Jack over Collison I had Darren Collison pegged as the free agent backup point guard option for the Cavaliers this summer because I never thought Jack was a viable possibility.  While Collison would've been a solid addition--and will be for a Los Angeles Clippers team who reportedly inked him to replace Eric Bledsoe in a role behind Chris Paul--Jack is a much better fit. He is a better point guard than Collison straight-up and also fills a need for Cleveland at shooting guard. He can legitimately anchor a reserve unit for the Cavaliers while filling in more than adequately as a starter at two positions whenever necessary.  Jack and that Sloopy song If the news of Jack's free agent signing wasn't encouraging enough for Cavs fans, he then offered this response on Twitter.   Now I just gotta learn that OHIO song — JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) July 7, 2013   And for the haters who think he made a #badchoice?   FOH urkle!!!!RT @assad_yousuf: @Jarrettjack03 #badchoice #smh #cavs #really? — JARRETT JACK (@Jarrettjack03) July 7, 2013   I'd close with a line about the Cavs wins no longer being as low moving forward, but I'm not feeling as clever as Kanye after my spill on the volleyball court. Welcome to Cleveland, Mr. Jack.
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