Thursday, January 22, 2009

NBA Trade Deadline: T-1 Month (Part II)


In part one of this piece, I scoured the rosters of 17 NBA teams in search of a trading partner for the Cavaliers, as we are now in the shadow of the February 19 trade dealine. Based on contract status, fit, and team positioning, I came up with only one player from the group of 17 teams that I thought would be a logical fit in Cleveland: Vince Carter.

If you find that last sentence to be a bit depressing, you're not alone. But fear not CMCR nation because today we take a look at the remaining 12 teams, each of whom is either a) a bottom dweller, or b) a team that, for one reason or another, is likely to make a deal come February.

Without further ado, I present The Bottom Dwellers:

18. Charlotte - The player that jumps out at you on this roster is obviously Gerald Wallace. The guy is 26 years old, 6'7, and averages about 16 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. What's more, Charlotte's roster is such an abomination that even the Bobcats' misguided regime knows they need to blow the whole thing up and start over. So, Wallace could probably be had for a package of expiring contracts and non-lottery picks. On the surface, it seems like the Cavs should be interested. For some reason though, I just don't like this move. Wallace makes about $10 million a year for the next three years, which isn't great, but it's certainly less than what guys like Vince Carter or Michael Redd are going to make over that period. The problem is that I just don't trust Wallace's numbers. He seems to me like the classic case of a guy whose stats are inflated because he's the only offensive threat on the floor for his team on any given night. I like to call this "the Zach Randolph effect." Also, much like Randolph, Wallace has never played on a quality team nor has he played a meaningful minute in 6 1/2 seasons. I understand that he makes a lot of sense on paper but I just don't see him joining a championship calliber team in mid-season, buying into the team concept, playing team defense, and doing the little things that good teams do to win games. Add this to the fact that he's not a very good shooter (45% from the floor and 24% from three) and the bottom line on Wallace is . . . no thanks.

Other than Wallce, you have two guys in Boris Diaw and Emeka Okafor that could definitely upgrade the Cavs' frontcourt but make too much money over too many years to warrant consideration.

19. Chicago - Hahahaha. Wait, one more time: Hahahahaha. You stupid assholes. It seems like another lifetime but only a few short years ago, the Bulls were the most imposing young franchise in basketball. They were absolutely loaded with 1) cap room, 2) young talent, and 3) draft picks. To a lesser extent, they were an Eastern Conference version of what the Blazers are today. Now, several terrible signings, poor draft picks, and bad extensions later, the Bulls are in shambles. I'm not even going to go into the whole Larry Hughes trade. It speaks for itself. Wait, one more time altogether now: Hahahahaha. Ok, so the point here is that the Bulls are atrocious and are probably willing to trade just about anyone. Unfortunately for the Bulls, I don't think they're going to find too many takers. Drew Gooden might go somewhere but it won't be Cleveland. We've, uh, outgrown him a little bit. Luol Deng probably isn't available because the Bulls have convinced themselves that he's twice the player that he really is (plus his contract is ungodly). Beyond that, there isn't anything here worth talking about, unless you have a fetish for guys who at one time were overhyped and are now simply overpaid.

20. Golden State - Wow did they ever panic and soil themselves when Baron Davis left town. $67 milloin for Corey Maggette and Ronny Turiaf? This roster is in bad shape but the only guys that might be available don't really help the Cavs. The aforementioned Turiaf is a big body but has no offensive game and makes too much money. Stephen Jackson is instant offense but he's got 4 years left on his deal, is 30 years old, and only shoots 39% from the floor. He's also insane but that's another story for another day. This team is of no help. (side note poll question: better offseason extension: Monta Ellis or Gil Arenas?)

21. Indiana - Troy Murphy is a big body who averages 12 and 11 but he makes over $10 million a year for the next two years. If I were Dan Gilbert, I would have a hard time paying $20 million in both 2010 and 2011 for Troy Murphy (remember, we are 100% going to be a luxury tax team as long as Lebron is wearing the wine and gold...and blue). Mike Dunleavy is another guy I would consider but he's a crappy rebounder and I don't know if Indiana would part with him for expiring deals alone. I can't see him being worth any more than that.

22. L.A. Clippers - This is the team that has the guy I covet more than anyone else in the league right now. You guessed it: Ricky Davis. Ok, actually it's Marcus Camby. This guy would be PERFECT for the Cavs right now. He averages roughly 12 points, 14 boards, and 2.5 blocks a night, shoots 50% from the floor, and makes roughly $10 million for one more season. In my estimation, he's the ideal addition and would make the Cavs the prohibitive favorite to win the whole thing. Camby is a tenacious defender who would thrive in the Cavs' system. What's more, he would come off the books for the summer of 2010 making it an almost risk-free move. I say almost because Camby is 34 and not exactly immune to injury.

The real problem though is that the Clippers are the absolute dumbest franchise in the NBA and from what I've heard (from my inside sources like...the internet), the Clippers are saying that he's not available. I just don't get it. At 9-32, why on earth would Donald Sterling (aka the cheapest bastard alive) want to pay Camby next year? Bottom line: Even if the Clippers are claiming he's not available, the Cavs should throw everything they have at this one. I might even include Hickson and/or a #1 to get it done. That's how much I think Camby could do for this team.

Other than Camby, Chris Kaman is another big body that could probably be had for the right price. This one doesn't excite me. His contract is big, it runs for 3 more years, and I just don't think he'd be worth the money or the risk.

Finally, there's good old Zach Randolph. He makes about $15 million a year for two more years but his numbers are huge: 22 points and 11 boards a game. I don't care. I wouldn't touch him. I don't think you can roll the dice with your franchise on a guy that may very well be suffering from Larry Hughes disease (has no interest in winning). Plus, he's a little bit undersized at 6'9 and is a very poor defender. If I were Ferry, I would stay far away from this one.

23. Memphis - I don't really see a fit here. Darko is a big body but he's soft and unproductive. I doubt the Griz would move him for an expiring deal anyway.

24. Minnesota - The only player on this roster that has some value and might be available is Mike Miller. I, for one, am not interested. His contract expires after next year but he plays the 2, only averages about 9 points a game, and is only shooting 44% from the field and 33% from 3. There's nothing wrong with these numbers...they just don't motivate me, and shouldn't motivate Ferry, to spend luxury taxed dollars to acquire him. My basic rule for this trade deadline is that the Cavs either need to get a prolific scorer or a big man who can play at least 20 quality minutes a game. Miller does not fit either description.

25. New York - The only player on the roster with value is David Lee and the Knicks must do something with his expiring deal if they are really going to clear their entire roster for the summer of 2010. The problem here is twofold: 1) because Lee is expiring, I would think the Knicks are going to want either young inexpensive talent or draft picks for him, and 2) I think New York would be very hesitant to give Cleveland any piece that might help them retain Lebron down the line. Lee would be an excellent fit for this Cavs team but I just don't see any way that it happens.

26. Oklahoma City - First things first: I want no part of Earl Watson. He's a horrendous shooter and averages 6 a game. I'd rather have West/Gibson/Lebron bringing the ball up when Williams is on the bench than Watson. The other interesting guy on this roster is Joe Smith. If the Cavs only move at this trade deadline is to get Smith off a buyout, I would be content. He's a consumate professional, a big body, and a guy who would give the Cavs that little bit of additional frontcourt depth that they desperately need. Smith isn't really a trade candidate but I would certainly court him if he were to be bought out. Other than Smith, I don't see any other big men on this roster that are likely to be moved.

27. Sacramento - First of all, based on what I've heard, Salmons is out. The Kings don't want to move him. Given that he's averaging 19 a game and has a reasonable contract running two more seasons, I don't necessarily blame them. I would suspect that any move involving Salmons will have to include a young player and/or picks coming back to Sacramento. The other guy that would make some sense for both the Cavs and Kings is Brad Miller. He averages 12 and 8 but makes a ton of money next season. If push came to shove, and the Cavs had the opportunity to get Miller (which I'm almost positive they will), I would do the deal under a few conditions: 1) The Cavs only have to give up Wally's expiring contract in the deal, 2) Gilbert is ok with paying a huge luxury tax bill next year after he gives Varejao a big extension, and 3) Szczerbiak does the secret handshake agreement to come back after he gets bought out. Give me those three things and I'm sold on Brad Miller. I might even do it wouthout knowing Wally would come back. If, and this is a big if, the Cavs survive the East, Miller would be a nice luxury to have against the Lakers massive front line.

28. Utah - I know, I know, I put them in the wrong category. At 25-18, they're certainly not bottom dwellers but I forgot to write about them in Part I so cut me some slack. The chatter around the league seems to be that Larry Miller doesn't want to pay the luxury tax so Utah will be looking to move someone next month. Boozer's contract is expiring so the Cavs really wouldn't have anything to offer to get him (and yes, if you're wondering, I would take him in a heartbeat. I don't care if he burned down my house...I would still jump on the chance to get him back if it meant a championship). Kirilenko is the other guy that would be a very interesting fit in Cleveland. For the money (about $15 million a year for two more years) he's clearly overpaid. He doesn't start and he only averages about 12 and 5. Still, he's a big body, he's only 27, and he would probably be rejuvinated if someone liberated him from the living hell that is Jerry Sloan. Kirilenko would undoubtedly be a great addition to the Cavs and would be a huge factor in any series against Boston, Orlando, or the Lakers. Still, I don't see how this deal gets done unless the Jazz are absolutely desperate to get out of cap trouble so they can re-sign Boozer and Millsap. They're too good of a team to be be giving key contributors away for nothing in February. Plus, Dan Gilbert would have to OK paying a role player in excess of $30 million over the next two years. I'm not sure I can see that happening knowing what Varejao is going to command this offseason. The only other guy of interest here would be Okur because he's a big body but I haven't heard anything about the Jazz looking to move him.

29. Washington - My thoughts on this franchise have been well-documented. Abe Polin is an idiot but unfortunately for the Cavs, that idiocy is what is standing in the way of the Cavs getting Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison. For the record, I would take Butler in a heartbeat and Jamison in only a slightly longer heartbeat because his contract is lengthier. Both of these guys would, in my estimation, put the Cavs over the top, but sadly, I don't think it matters because neither will be traded. I don't see how Polin can throw up the white flag when Gilbert Arenas still has 5 1/2 years and roughly a trillion dollars left on his absolutely indefensible contract. Even if you cleared Jamison and Butler off your books, you'd still have a team without much cap space and you'd have an extremely pissed off fan base (largely because they're some of the most ignorant basketball fans in the league and have yet to figure out that they have no chance of winning a playoff series with their current core, even if, by some miracle, they were all healthy at the same time). Add in the fact that these franchises are mortal enemies and I think the chances of a deal getting done are slim and none. Oh well. Enjoy your 20 win team Washington fans. Wait, what's that? It's because of injuries? Oh, well in that case, enjoy your 35 win team next year Washington. Jackasses.

Conclusion: The Cavs need to go hard after Camby. If that fails, they should take a hard look at Vince Carter. Finally, if nothing unexpected materializes, they should consider Brad Miller, or perhaps even Kirilenko for expiring money. If none of those options is available, keep the team as constructed, get healthy, hope that Joe Smith gets bought out, and try to win a title with a team that is, when healthy, as good as any other team in the league. As a Cavs fan, I could live with that.

3 comments:

Alvaro Espinoza said...

Biff,

Good article. Just to point out, the only way Joe Smith can come back here is via a buyout. NBA rules won't allow for him to be traded back to the team.

Personally, I think Joe Smith is the best fit for this team. I don't think the Cavs need another star to win the championship. As they are constructed, a big man like Smith, who is already familiar with everyone on the team and the organization, appears to be the ideal last piece to the puzzle. Plus, he doesn't tie down the Cavs beyond this season.

Maybe for once, we'll see a player sort of force his way to the Cavs in the hope of winning a championship, rather than to a Boston, Spurs, Pistons, or Lakers.

Art Brosef said...

Awesome read, informative and funny.....information on individuals contracts is good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your analysis, Biff. Great read.