Brian Windhorst writes what everyone is thinking:
Because of their superstar, their record and some incredible team statistics early in the season, the Cavaliers have had the “elite” tag slapped on them in the NBA’s pecking order.
Thus far they have earned it, but to keep it up they are going to have to address the only blemish on their 20-4 record. After Saturday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which snapped an 11-game win streak, the Cavs are now just 1-4 this season on the road against teams with winning records.
On one hand it can be said the team doesn’t have a bad loss yet. During the winning streak, when the Cavs only played one team with the winning record (the Hawks), they vanquished the sub-.500 opponents nightly.
On the other, watching the road performance of East rivals Boston and Orlando – the Magic won in Portland and Utah last week and lost by a single point in Phoenix – the Cavs still have some work to do.
The Cavs are 7-4 on the road so far, and a disproportionate six of those 11 games have been on the second night of a back-to-back. Nonetheless, the Cavs are now to be judged by the highest standard, and losses in Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Atlanta don’t brighten their resume much.
November’s victory in Dallas, which kicked off the just halted run of 19 wins in 20 games, is so far the Cavs’ only quality win away from The Q. And the Mavericks, who are now 13-9 after winning nine of their past 11, are just a pedestrian 6-5 at home this season.
Like I said in the recap, I’m not overly concerned about their losses, but it’s something we need to keep our eye on.
When the Cavs were winning, no one wanted to discuss the possiblity of trading Wally for a starter (most likely a 2-guard); things were going so well, so why mess with things? But it’s something that the Cavs and Danny Ferry are going to have to seriously explore (especially when you consider that Wally would probably be bought out and simply return to the Cavs).
I’m OK with the idea of getting someone like Vince Carter (as long as the Cavs are just giving draft picks along with Wally) and I think he’d be a good addition, even when you consider his baggage.
However, there’s another name that gets thrown about which really intrigues me: Gerald Wallace. Unlike Carter, Wallace is known for his defense and he’d be a great fit for the Cavs at the defensive end. However, I’d be a little wary of his offense: Wallace is in a shooting slump this season, shooting 43% on FG (career 48%) and a dismil 22% from beyond the arc (carrer 30%). With LeBron James on the floor, it will be imperative that the guards make their open looks. Can Wallace do that? I’m not sure (if he’s traded here, he’ll suddenly find himself with a lot more open looks).
Another concern, if Wallace gets another concussion, he’s probably retiring for health reasons. Plus, his contract will run through 2012-13 season and he’s making $9.5 million each of those seasons. That’s a lot of money to take on for an injury prone guy who can’t shoot (but could you imagine the defense he and James could play on the wing?).
Now, if the Cavs can start beating some good teams on the road (they’ll have more chances coming up), then they may not need to make The Big Deal. But if they can’t find a way to beat quality opponents on the road, then Danny Ferry might have to roll the dice on someone like Carter or Wallace.