Free agent Shawn Marion reportedly met with the Indiana Pacers two times, but he has chosen to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
The chance to play with LeBron James and immediately compete for a championship, sources said, clinched Marion’s decision to choose Cleveland in the face of a ramped-up pursuit by the Indiana Pacers.
As ESPN.com reported earlier this week, Pacers president Larry Bird invited Marion to Indianapolis earlier this week for a face-to-face recruiting pitch over dinner, with Indiana in desperate need of veteran help on the wing after the season-ending compound leg fracture suffered by star swingman Paul George on Aug. 1.
This makes sense.
The Cavaliers can only offer Marion a minimum salary, but the difference between this and the Pacers’ best possible offer (probably around $1 million) never seemed like it would be enough. The Cavs have LeBron and a (probably) Kevin Love. They can win a title. The Pacers have … not those guys. They are fighting to make the playoffs and advancing to the second round is probably their ceiling as the roster is currently constructed.
According Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports, Larry Bird said earlier this week that he believes Marion wanted to play for a contender.
“What I came away with [after meeting with Marion] is he’s undecided where he wants to play or what he wants to do,” Bird told reporters at a press conference Tuesday morning. “But he did say that he would like to be on a contender and try to win a championship. I know he’s talked to Cleveland. We didn’t talk about Cleveland but I know he’s been there. And I don’t know who else he’s talked to.”
Again, this makes sense for someone who has made more than $130 million in career earnings, per Basketball-Reference.
Rumors recently surfaced the Los Angeles Clippers were trying to sign Marion, but the Clipps, like the Pacers, came up short. Marion is heading to Cleveland.