Langdon headed for trading block

Alaska NBA player's days with Cleveland may be numbered

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

CLEVELAND -- Trajan Langdon is not a factor in the present for the Cleveland Cavaliers and likely won't be in the future. With that in mind, Coach John Lucas sees no reason to sugar coat anything.

Lucas said Thursday he likely soon will discuss with Langdon the possibility of trading him. Langdon, a former three-time Alaska player of the year when he played for East Anchorage High School, is a shooting guard who has played sparingly this season. Langdon is the first player from an Alaska high school to play in the NBA.

"Everybody wants to play," Lucas said. "If he wants us to investigate and look for something else, I don't want to do anything that will not help him be successful. ... We haven't had that conversation yet. But it should be on his mind and it's on my mind."

It's on Langdon's mind. Considering the Cavs opted not to pick up his contract option for next season and considering he has not played in 8-of-18 games this season, he's not signing any long leases in Cleveland.

"I want to get to an opportunity where I can play," Langdon said. "Who knows if it will surface here. My thing is I want to play right now, and it doesn't look like it's happening here."

Langdon stopped short of saying he wants to be traded, but he figures there's a decent chance he won't be with the Cavs at the end of the season.

"This is a business," he said. "At the end of the year, I'm (a free agent), so I don't think they want me to go to another team for nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if they look to move me."

Cavs general manager Jim Paxson, scouting high school players at the Save/KMOX Shootout in St. Louis, was unavailable for comment. Langdon's agent, Arn Tellem, did not return a call.

Prior to the season, the Cavs did not pick up the option on Langdon's contract for 2002-03. That ensured he would become a free agent at the end of this, his third season.

In order to trade Langdon, the Cavs might have to take a player with multiple years on his contract, which might not be appealing to them. If a situation should arise later in the season in which the Cavs, who have the maximum of 15 players on the active roster and injured list, need another roster spot, it's not out of the question that Langdon could be waived.

Langdon, picked No. 11 in the 1999 draft out of Duke after most observers had him rated as a late first-round pick, averaged 5.8 points in his first two seasons while shooting 41.3 percent from 3-point range.

This year, however, has been a disaster. Langdon, averaging 2.2 points and 8.4 minutes in 10 games, is shooting 7-of-35 (20 percent) from the field, including 3-of-20 (15 percent) on 3-pointers.

Lucas believes the decision to not pick up Langdon's option has affected his play. Langdon disagrees, saying he's confident he could shake his slump if given consistent minutes.

But that's unlikely to happen on a team overloaded with shooting guards. Wesley Person, Ricky Davis and Bryant Stith are all ahead of Langdon and Jeff Trepagnier, before going on the injured list earlier this week, was even taking some minutes away from him. Langdon played just one minute in the team's recent five-game homestand.

"It's frustrating," Langdon said. "I worked hard all summer for an opportunity to get some minutes, and for whatever reason I don't get on the court. But all I can do is stay strong and keep working."

The return of Zydrunas Ilgauskas from a foot injury would seem to be good news for Langdon, who gets more open looks when the 7-foot-3 center is on the court. But it hasn't meant more playing time.

"Every coach has to (take minutes from) some guys and it's not a fun deal," Lucas said. "It's been extremely tough on Trajan and it's been tougher on his coach because I'm rooting for Trajan Langdon. But he will get two or three more chances this year to crack the rotation. That's just the way the season goes."

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