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Cavaliers still searching for small forward to replace that guy who left town

Oct 14, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

Earl Clark, Miroslav Raduljica AP

Since LeBron James bolted Cleveland for Miami, the small forward spot has been a black hole for the Cavaliers.

There was Jamario Moon. Then Omri Casspi. Then Alonzo Gee, who is still on the roster. Now Earl Clark is getting a shot.

Not exactly a murderer’s row. The Cavaliers have built a team they like at the other spots on the floor — Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters in the backcourt, Tristan Thompson/Anthony Bennett at the four and Andrew Bynum in theory at center — but the three spot remains an issue.

But coach Mike Brown doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, he told the Plain Dealer.

“We can have scoring from other areas. I don’t think your small forward has to be your leading scorer or a high-level scorer in order to win,” he said. “I think a small forward for us has to be a guy who is a high-level defender who has some size and toughness.”

Clark was buried on the Lakers bench when Mike Brown was the coach there last season, but a desperate Mike D’Antoni — trying to make that Lakers roster fit his system — had limited success with Clark in a “3-and-D” role.

That’s what Clark and Gee will be asked to do for Cleveland — defend. Knock down the open shot, but they are not the scorers or shot creators. Which is good because neither is really suited to do that.

Will that be enough? We’ll see.

Cleveland is still looking for the guy to fill that slot in the roster… and no, don’t expect LeBron to come back and save the day. That’s an owner’s daydream, not a GMs reality.

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