Cavaliers sign Kemp to contract extensionAP , Associated Press
Oct. 17, 1997 2:36 AM ET
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Shawn Kemp said he feels blessed to get a contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As the fifth member of the NBA's $100 million club, he should also feel quite wealthy.
Kemp wouldn't disclose numbers Thursday night, but admitted, ``It's a whole lot of money. We're talking big numbers.''
The team, citing club policy, also declined to reveal terms.
``I feel like I'm blessed,'' Kemp said after finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 117-109 exhibition victory over the New Jersey Nets. ``I appreciate the organization stepping up and getting it done and allowing me to concentrate on basketball. I intend to show that appreciation by working hard to show I am worth it.''
Reports Wednesday said the deal was for seven years and about $107 million. It would reportedly pay the five-time All-Star approximately $8.3 million in the first season, with 20 percent raises in each of the next six years.
The other players with nine-figure contracts are Minnesota's Kevin Garnett ($126 million), Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers ($120 million), Miami's Alonzo Mourning ($112 million) and Washington's Juwan Howard ($100.8 million).
Kemp, a 6-foot-10 forward, was acquired in a three-way trade with Milwaukee and Seattle on Sept. 25. Terrell Brandon, Tyrone Hill and a first-round draft pick went from Cleveland to Milwaukee, and Vin Baker went from Milwaukee to Seattle.
Kemp expressed displeasure during the offseason with the contract he signed three years ago with Seattle and demanded a trade. That $35 million deal had annual salaries of about $3.5 million until a balloon payment of more than $17 million was due in the final season, 2002-03.
``Cavs owner Gordon Gund has made a commitment to get the team back in contention for an NBA championship,'' team president Wayne Embry said Thursday in announcing the contract extension.
``Gordon's commitment was reaffirmed, not only by acquiring a player of Shawn Kemp's ability, but by modifying and extending Shawn's contract. This was a combined effort among Cavs team counsel Dick Watson, Gordon and myself, along with Shawn's attorneys Tony Dutt and Jeff Neal. We all look forward to many exciting years of Shawn Kemp leading the Cavaliers.''
Kemp, 27, spent the first eight years of his pro career with Seattle after jumping from high school in Elkhart, Ind. to the NBA. He has averaged 16.2 points and 9.6 rebounds and was a second team All-NBA pick in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
``I came into this league a man-child and with this, I'm a man,'' Kemp said. ``Yes, it was important for me to move up with the name players in salary. More important, though, is helping this team because they have been so good to me.
``I've never been happier. One of the refs tonight said he had never seen me so relaxed, smiling, having fun. When you are relaxed, you ultimately play better.''