With the trade deadline coming up, let’s run through some recent Cavs rumors, shall we?
Sources told ESPN.com that the New York Knicks have been one of the more active teams in trade discussions around the NBA. But team president and head coach Isiah Thomas has quashed numerous proposals put together by his top assistant, Glen Grunwald, mainly because of Thomas’ reluctance to part with the two players other teams ask for the most, Jamal Crawford and David Lee.
One proposed deal would have sent Crawford and a cap filler (Malik Rose and/or Jerome James) to the New Jersey Nets for Vince Carter. Another would have sent Crawford and others to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a package built around Larry Hughes. A third deal, which was squashed by the Bucks, would have sent Zach Randolph to Milwaukee.
Crawford would be a nice addition to this club. He can handle the ball, he’s big (6-5) and he can score (but he’s a very streaky shooter). The big issue for me is Crawford’s contract. Assuming he picks up his player option after next season, he’d be signed through the 2010-11 season (in which he’d make $10 million). No other Cavalier has an offer that long (LeBron is definitely here through ’09-10 and has player option for ’10-11) and that’s a long time to commit to a player with a career FG% of .403 and 3PT% .343. But if it gets Hughes off the roster…
Keep an eye on Sam Cassell. He isn’t asking to be traded out of Clipperland. But if the team continues to struggle, that could change.
Cassell would be a very intriguing addition to any playoff-bound team — especially Dallas or Cleveland.
“We’ll see,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “It ain’t to that point right now, but we’ll see. I started this thing (with the Clippers) and we’ll see how it pans out.”
Cassell intrigues me… I know he’s old, but he’s won in the playoffs and he definitely knows how to set players up. Playing with a PG like Cassell could help out LeBron in a numbers of ways. First, on the court, LeBron should get a couple of easy baskets a game due to actual competent passing. Secondly, Cassell has taken (and hit) big shots all throughout his career, so LeBron wouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting come playoff time. Off the court, a winner like Cassell could really help the Cavalier locker room and the advice he’d give LeBron could really be invaluable.
If the Cavs want him, they’re going to have to take back Kenny Thomas’ contract as well — something Cleveland insiders have said is a deal-breaker. But the Cavs and Kings have had at least three sets of trade discussions centered around Bibby in the past year, including three days of intense discussions immediately prior to last season’s deadline.
If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I’m not that high on Mike Bibby. Don’t me wrong, he’s a fine player and everything, but I don’t have the Bibby-boner like a lot of Cavalier fans. He’s a better shooter than both Hughes and Crawford and he’s definitely the pure point guard that the Cavs would like, but… I dunno. His defense is awful (so he won’t solve the Cavs problems with quick guards) and he’s never made an All-Star team.
I know, not the best measure of talent, but if the Cavs are going to trade for LeBron’s second banana (or LeBron’s Pippen) shouldn’t he have at least been an All-Star?
As for Kenny Thomas:
Really Cleveland? You won’t make the deal to get point guard Mike Bibby if you have to take back Kenny Thomas’ two-year, $17.3 million contract? You must be joking. First, you have to give up Drew Gooden to even start the discussion for Bibby.
So, you lose a power forward and you gain one back — albeit a lesser one — with Thomas. What’s the big deal? It can’t be the $17.3 million. You have six players coming off the books at the end of the season. You would rather waste another season of prime LeBron James to avoid a one-time luxury tax hit? You can’t seriously think you are going back to the NBA Finals with the current roster.
Ya, Thomas is only going to be around for two more seasons, but depending on the deal, the Cavs could need to keep their salary flexibility next year (more on that in a bit). Oh, and the “six players coming off the books at the end of the season”? Ira Newble, Devin Brown, Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson, Dwayne Jones and Demetris Nichols. Total salary: $8.64 million.
Thomas, who’s been working on his game, could be worth the risk in trading for Bibby. He does give the Cavs another PF in return (so they wouldn’t be pressing Dwayne Jones into the rotation) and they could even start him to keep Varejao in the bench energy/end of the game role he excels at.
If the Cavs don’t do squat this season and go into the offseason with the same roster, they’ll have somewhere between $24 and $30 million dollars in expiring deals (depending on if Varejao picks up his player option). That’s a lot of cap relief to dangle in front of underachieving teams with high priced players (I’d be eying Milwaukee and Michael Redd). Thomas makes roughly $8 million each of the next two seasons, so the Cavs should still be able to have somewhere $10 -$20 million range (in expiring deals) to play with (depending on who gets shipped off). Plus, Thomas comes off the books the same summer as Hughes and Ilgauskas, so the Cavs should have ample capspace then as well.
As of now, odds are the Cavs end up with a different point guard by the time the deadline passes, anyone from Tyronn Lue to Marcus Banks to Earl Watson.
No no non no no no! Marcus Banks is a career 34% 3PT shooter, makes $4.5 million a year and is signed through ’10-11. Trading for Banks would be like trading for another Damon Jones who has longer contract and without the ability to make shots. They need a point guard… but not a terrible one.
Earl Watson? Meh. He’s a career 41% shooter and 34% from beyond the arc. He has two years and roughly $12 million left on his current deal (after this season). He’s decent, but I can’t see him being the guy to run a championship team.
Of all these 2nd tier (or 3rd tier) point guards, Tyron Lue makes the most sense. He’s in the last year of his deal and makes only $3.5 million this year and while he’s not he flashiest player, he’s quick, tough and has a career 3PT% of .383. He’d definitely be a low risk/Flip Murray type acquisition, but he wouldn’t mess with future cap consideration.
Look, I know the Cavs need to make a deal and I want them to make a deal. They need to shake things up and certain players could really use the change of scenery. I know this. You know this. And I’m sure that Danny Ferry knows this. But if they’re going to make a move, I want them to make either a big one (Mike Bibby) or a little one (Tyron Lue). I don’t want something in between.
Here’s my thing: if it’s going to effect their future capspace/trade options, it better enable them to get above the 3-seed in the East. I figure that the Cavs (barring injuries) can get the 3-seed as currently constructed and if the potential deal won’t propel them ahead of the Pistons and it messes with their future expiring contracts, why even do it? What’s the point?
I’m all for making a move, but make a smart one.