COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Donyell Marshall chose his words carefully.
"I wouldn't say (all the turmoil in Toronto last season) wore me out, but it was a difficult time to go through," the Cleveland Cavaliers forward said yesterday in his first chat with Toronto reporters since leaving the Raptors as a free agent this summer.
"A lot of things factored in. The good thing about now is I've moved on. I'll never blast the (Raptors) organization, never say anything bad about it."
While a Cleveland-area report a few weeks ago said Marshall was ripping the Raptors on several occasions, he wasn't about to emulate ex-teammate Lamond Murray's troubled Raptors rant from last week. After all, the Raptors needed to cut ties with Marshall to clear some cap space and the 12-year NBA veteran was intent on hooking up with a legitimate contender, which is not how Toronto is being described these days. Marshall said good things about Toronto, as a city, and Raptors fans and called Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment Ltd. chairman of the board Larry Tanenbaum "a great friend."
The soft-spoken Marshall signed a four-year deal with the Cavs, joining Larry Hughes and Damon Jones as key new additions to a team that is expected to make noise in the East.
"For me being in my 12th year, it (playing for a strong team) was probably one of the No. 1 priorities as well as getting playing time," said Marshall, who took time to hug many of his one-time teammates before the Cavs faced the Raptors in a pre-season game last night. "That's what I was worried about. I wanted to get to the playoffs and have a chance to try to win a championship."
Marshall also was swayed by Cavs star LeBron James' attitude.
"(James) called me and expressed interest in me," Marshalls aid. "He came after dinner and spoke to my family and different things. It was a big factor."
AROUND THE NBA
Raptors forward Eric Williams craves a return to the Boston Celtics dressing room one day. "I ain't looking to retire yet, but when I do, I would love to retire as a Celtic," the ex-Celtic told the Boston Globe ... A report out of New York yesterday suggests the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets have heard from six teams interested in trading for Toronto-born centre Jamaal Magloire.