The man affectionately known as "Boobie" seemed destined for a lengthy NBA career when he started a pair of NBA Finals games as a rookie for the Cavs in 2007. Daniel Gibson had enough staying power with the Cavs to remain with the team longer than nearly everyone else on that Finals roster, but the 27-year-old's NBA career stands at a crossroads now that he and Cleveland have finally parted ways. The Sixers are the only NBA team that's been reported to have interest in Gibson this month. The Rockets abandoned their pursuit from the summer, and while the Knicks, Pacers and Bucks were mentioned in connection with Gibson in July, they appear no closer to signing him more than two months later.
Gibson's role in the Cavs offense has declined precipitously the past two seasons, even though he didn't play too many fewer minutes per game last season than in 2010/11, when he poured in a career high 11.6 points per contest on nearly 10 shots a night. He averaged only 5.4 field goal attempts in 2012/13, eliminating his penetration game in favor of three-point shooting. He took only 29 shots all season from less than 10 feet away from the basket, according to Basketball-Reference. Alas, he shot just 34.4% from three-point range last season, the worst mark of a career in which he's made 40.7% of his treys. He wound up scoring fewer points per minutes played last season than in any of his seven NBA seasons.
Gibson has proven a valuable team defender for most of his time in the league, but last season, the Cavs gave up fewer points per 100 possessions with Gibson on the bench than they did with him in the lineup, per NBA.com. That's only been the case during one other season in his career, as Gibson generally remained attentive to the defensive end even after the Cavs replaced coach Mike Brown with the more offensively oriented Byron Scott.
Some teams may perceive last season's performance as a warning that Gibson's quickness is dissapating, even though he's still two and a half years shy of his 30th birthday. At 6'2", he's too short to guard many of the league's shooting guards, so he must display the ability to keep up with point guards. The Cavs have played him extensively at both guard positions, but he's never been the pass-first sort. Still, he showed he was capable of efficiently distributing the ball during the season after LeBron James left, averaging 3.0 assists and 1.2 turnovers per game, the only year in which he's approached a 3-to-1 ratio. If he demonstrates in workouts that he's capable of duplicating that level of efficiency, he'll significantly improve his chances of finding another NBA job.
I can't imagine there won't be another NBA team that gives him a shot, even if he isn't someone who can embrace the role of a passing point guard. Front offices probably give last season's defensive slippage more credence than his off year from behind the arc, since it would be odd for his touch to vanish long-term, even though his three-point percentage has declined in each of the last three seasons. Perhaps that has to do with where those three-point shots are coming from. In 2009/10, when he made a career-best 47.7% of his three-pointers, he clustered his attempts in the left corner. He began taking them from all around the arc under Scott, and last season he made significantly more from the right corner than he did from the left. Finding the right coach with the right system that can get Gibson to where he's most comfortable on the floor will be key.
Guys who can stick 40% of their threes are a commodity in the NBA, so Gibson and his representatives at ASM Sports shouldn't go without an offer this season. He might not receive a training camp invitation, but if he stays in shape and doesn't sign an overseas deal without an NBA out, he'll likely find himself back on an NBA roster at some point this year. He said in the spring that he'd be open to returning to the Cavs, and even though the team has no apparent interest, that doesn't rule out a reunion between Gibson and Brown, who coached him for four seasons. Hawks GM Danny Ferry, who drafted Gibson in the second round in 2006, is another who could give him a shot, though that's just my speculation.