By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - As expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers have matched the six-year, $34 million offer Ricky Davis received last week from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The only surprise was how quickly the Cavs moved to keep the 6-foot-7 guard.
The Cavs had 15 days to think about whether they wanted to re-sign, a restricted free agent, after Minnesota tendered its offer last Friday. But after receiving the official contract Tuesday afternoon, Cavs general manager Jim Paxson quickly matched it.
"All along, we made it clear that we wanted to keep Ricky Davis as a member of the Cavaliers," Paxson said Wednesday. "After discussions with (owner) Gordon Gund and (coach) John Lucas, we decided to match the offer immediately. We are very excited that Ricky will be among our core group of young players."
With the 22-year-old Davis joining rookie guard DaJuan Wagner and forward Darius Miles -- who was acquired in the Andre Miller trade -- the Cavs should be bring considerable energy and fans to relatively quiet Gund Arena. The club also is counting on the trio to get Cleveland back to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Davis became a fan favorite during his first season with the Cavs, who acquired the high-flying, headband-wearing guard in a three-way trade last October with Miami and Toronto.
Davis averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game and was the only Cavalier to play in all 82 games. He spent much of the season coming off the bench but began to emerge late in the year, after Lucas put him in the starting lineup.
He averaged 19.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists in eight games as a starter. His play was superb in some of those games, with ferocious dunks and fearless drives to the baskets. He closed the season by scoring 20 or more points in seven of Cleveland's final 13 games.
Davis saved his best performance for a March 26 matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 35 points on 15-of-24 shooting in 42 minutes.
Davis was drafted in the first round (No. 21 overall) in 1998 by Charlotte after playing only his freshman year at Iowa. He spent two seasons with the Hornets before being traded to the Heat prior to the 2000-01 season.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)