Wed | May 4, 2016

Jamaica's forward released by NBA's Cavaliers

Published:Tuesday | January 8, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Cleveland Cavaliers' Samardo Samuels (24) of Jamaica shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder centre Nick Collison (4) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City last year. - AP

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Jamaican forward Samardo Samuels is now searching for a new National Basketball Association (NBA) team, this after he was released by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

Samuels played in 18 games with the Cavaliers this season - which included one start - and averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in close to 11 minutes a game.

The 6' 9" Samuels, who turns 24 tomorrow, signed a three-year deal in 2010 with the Cavaliers worth US$500,000 per year. He played in 109 career games and has averaged 5.9 points and 3.4 rebounds.

The Cavaliers, who play in the Eastern Conference, are out of contention for a spot in the play-offs as they have the worst record in the NBA this season - eight wins and 27 defeats.

Samuels, who hails from Trelawny, was a member of Jamaica's team last summer, which gained qualification to this year's FIBA World Championship final round qualifiers.

When contacted yesterday, president of the Jamaica Basketball Association, Ajani Williams, who has been in constant dialogue with Samuels, told The Gleaner he was shocked by Samuels' dismissal.

"I don't have enough information to give a comment, but all I know is that he played some good basketball for us last summer and so I don't' think it was a basketball issue why he was released," said Williams.

"Skillwise, I know he has been playing some good basketball because he is in the best shape of his life," Williams said.

Williams pointed out that Samuels has the potential to become a major star in the NBA, therefore, he is confident that the player's agent, B.J. Armstrong, who also represents Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose, will find a new team for him soon.

"B.J. Armstrong is looking for a new team for him and we wish him all the best," Williams said. "I think he is a great player and great person and I hope he finds a team that he can get substantial playing time and a team in which he can make an impact on the NBA," he said.

Continuing, Williams said: "The Jamaica Basketball Association and its members are here to assist in whatever way we are able to, but he has a pretty good agent who will do everything possible to get him a new team very soon."