NBA • Small forward expected to sign with Cleveland Cavaliers.
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Only one remains.
Unrestricted free agent small forward C.J. Miles is expected to soon sign a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Salt Lake Tribune first reported Miles' decision Friday.
His departure leaves Paul Millsap as the lone remaining player from the Jazz's 2006-07 team, which finished with a 51-31 regular-season record and advanced to the Western Conference finals before falling 4-1 to San Antonio.
Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson are gone. Five seasons after they nearly pushed Utah to the NBA Finals the small-market franchise has never won a championship and hasn't been in the Finals since 1998 Miles' move to Cleveland represents the official end of the D-Will era.
Drafted out of Skyline (Dallas) High School in 2005 by the Jazz with the No. 34 overall pick, Miles' initial two seasons with Utah highlighted his young age. He played in only 60 games during two years, shooting just 35.4 percent (68 of 192) from the floor and spending time in the Development League. Sloan called out Miles in 2006, saying the Jazz couldn't afford to allow him to wear diapers one night and a jockstrap the next.
Then the promise of the highly athletic Miles began to shine through. He averaged at least 9.1 points in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and a strong showing in the 2010 playoffs 14.4 average points on 44.3 percent shooting in 10 games provided a glimpse at the talent inherent in an 18-year-old prospect Utah initially wooed away from the University of Texas.
A career season followed. Miles averaged highs in points (12.8), rebounds (3.3) and minutes (25.2) in 2010-11. He scored a career-high 40 points on 14-of-18 shooting against Minnesota on March 16, 2011; he drilled 7 of 10 3-pointers in only 30 minutes against Portland on Nov. 20, 2010.
But at the same time Miles showed signs of taking off, Utah fell apart. Sloan resigned in February 2011. Less than two weeks later, Williams Miles' closest and longtime friend on the Jazz was shockingly traded.
Miles never fully clicked with new coach Tyrone Corbin, and the high-volume shooter's negative traits on the court were no longer glossed over by the organization. Even when Miles displayed improved man-to-man defense or offensive shot selection, statistics such as a 38.1 shooting percentage in 2011-12 or his inconsistent overall performance were offered as counterpoints.
When Miles finally released pent-up frustration about the Jazz and Corbin during a May exit interview, his separation from the team that drafted him was only a formality.
Now, the seven-year veteran and career Jazzman will receive what he's long sought: a change of scenery. Trade demands and sign-and-trade options had previously been presented to the Jazz. But Utah will allow the former prospect to simply walk away, and Miles will join the rebuilding Cavaliers, teaming with 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving in Cleveland's backcourt.
The young Cavs have told Miles he'll be allowed to compete for a starting spot, and he's already bonded with coach Byron Scott.
The Jazz are moving into a new era. So is Miles.
"He's so happy," a league source told The Tribune on Friday.
C.J. Miles file
Position • Small forward
Year • 7
Vitals • 6-foot-6, 222 pounds
Career averages • 8.4 pts, 2.2 reb, 1.3 ast in 389 games (159 starts)
Draft • No. 34 overall by Utah in 2005
Born • Dallas