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Sources: Ferry accepts GM job with Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Cavaliers finally have their general manager, and with not a moment to spare.

Danny Ferry, who spent the past two years in the front office of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, has accepted the GM job with the Cavaliers, two league sources told the Associated Press on Sunday night.

Ferry, who played 10 seasons with the Cavaliers, completed negotiations with the club Sunday before flying to Cleveland said the sources, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Ferry's hiring is expected to be announced Monday - one day before the NBA draft and just a few days before free agency begins.

The Cavaliers currently don't have a draft pick but have reportedly discussed trading forward Jiri Welsch for a second-round selection. That deal could be easier to make now that the Cavs have Ferry.

Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert has been looking for a GM since firing Jim Paxson a day after the Cavaliers' season ended without a playoff berth. Gilbert spoke with several other candidates before deciding on Ferry, who has been San Antonio's director of basketball operations under GM R.C. Buford the past two years.

The 38-year-old Ferry played in a club-record 723 games for the Cavaliers from 1990-2000.

Back in Cleveland, he'll be reunited with first-year Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, who was an assistant with the Spurs when Ferry spent his last three years as a player in San Antonio.

However, while Ferry's return will please Brown, it will surely bring back bad memories for some Cleveland fans.

An All-American at Duke, Ferry was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in 1989 by the Los Angeles Clippers. But he held out in a contract dispute and played one season in Italy before the Cavaliers acquired his rights in a trade.

The club dealt rising star Ron Harper for Ferry and waited an entire season until he finished his contract in Italy. Cleveland then signed Ferry to a 10-year, $34 million contract, a decision that made it tough for them to get other players.

In Cleveland, Ferry will have some immediate challenges as he tries to rebuild the Cavs, who faded down the stretch last season.

The club will have roughly $25 million to spend in the free-agency period, which begins on July 1. The Cavaliers also have to decide whether to re-sign All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who made $14.6 million last season. Ferry and Ilgauskas are former teammates and have remained close friends.

Ferry's top priority in Cleveland will be building a team around All-Star forward LeBron James.

On Friday, James said he would like to have input into which players are signed by the Cavaliers. He mentioned guards Michael Redd, Ray Allen and Larry Hughes and center Eddy Curry as players he would like to see in Cleveland.

Ferry is following in the footsteps of his father, Bob, who played 10 seasons in the NBA and was general manager of the Washington Bullets from 1973-90.

Now that the Cavaliers have their new coach and GM, it's still unclear how their front office will be structured. Cleveland has had preliminary talks with Detroit coach Larry Brown about becoming the club's president of basketball operations.

The 64-year-old Brown said before Game 7 of the NBA Finals that he will check into the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday. He'll be in the hospital to address a medical problem that developed from complications following hip surgery in November and hasn't improved.

Brown has said if doctors say he's healthy enough to coach that he wants to be with the Pistons next season.