Antawn Jamison

Of all the names that have been thrown around as potential Cavalier mid-season pickups, Antawn Jamison’s name pops up the most. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, I like Jamison. He’s the one Washington Wizard that I don’t mock at every opportunity (he’d be mic’d up for those playoff games and you’d hear him just pleading with the other Wizards to crash the boards, I actually felt bad for the guy). The Cavaliers would be trading for a power forward who currently averages 20 points (47% FG, 35% 3FG) and 8 boards a night. You don’t need me to tell you that he’d be a significant upgrade on the offensive end.

However, on the other hand, the Cavs would also be trading for a 33 year old power forward (he turns 34 in June) who is owed $13 million next season and a whopping $15 million the following year. Do you want to be paying a 35 year old power forward $15 million bucks? I sure don’t.

As great as Jamison would be short term, he’s a somewhat major risk for the long term (unless you think trading for overpaid guys in their midthirties is a good way to build a franchise).

Then there’s this from Marc Stein:

The two Wizards who continue to draw the most interest from rival teams are forwards Caron Butler (who will have an array of Western Conference suitors when Washington decides that it’s finally ready to break up its core) and Antawn Jamison (who is fiercely loyal but quite frustrated, as I hear it, by the ongoing disarray with the Wiz).

Jamison has been on the Cavaliers’ radar for some time, as the ever-reliable Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reminded us in his column last weekend, but it’s believed that Cleveland would only do a Zydrunas Ilgauskas-for-Jamison deal if it knew that the Wizards were prepared to release Ilgauskas after consummating the trade. Big Z could then re-sign with the Cavs after a 30-day wait, as seen last season, when Antonio McDyess was dealt from Detroit to Denver in the Allen Iverson deal and later rejoined the Pistons.

Yet I’m told that the Wizards (A) would insist on at least one more asset because they are not prepared to part with Butler or Jamison merely for cap relief and (B) would do everything they could to avoid sending Jamison to Cleveland because of the tension that has built up in recent years between those teams.

So the Cavs won’t trade Z unless it’s prearranged that he’s being bought out and the Wizards won’t part with Jamison unless they get some assets other than cap relief in return. Makes sense.

The big question for me is this: how effective does Danny Ferry think Jamison will be next year? Are they comfortable paying $13 million for a 34 year old power forward (full of nagging injuries) next season? I’m not so concerned in two seasons because, at worst, Jamison will be a $15 million expiring contract (*waves* at New Orleans and 2012 FA Chris Paul).

Other than cap relief (Z, Shaq and even Wally Szczerbiak), the Cavs’ biggest (reasonable) trade asset is J.J. Hickson. I’m not opposed to parting with Hickson in a deal but it’s gotta be the right one. I’m not sure getting ‘just’ Jamison is that deal. Now, if they wanna grab Mike Miller or Brendan Haywood (or Caron Butler, but that’s much more tricky) along with Jamison, then wave Hickson goodbye.

I can probably be talked into parting with Hickson for Jamison but I’m not comfortable with the idea (food for thought: the one year Jamison was on the Mavericks -aka a good team- he shot 53% from the floor, 40% from three (both career highs) and averaged 14 and 6 coming off the bench. Interesting). Do you part with J.J. for a power forward on the wrong side of 30 who’s owed 28 million over the next two seasons? Tough call.

Then there’s Troy Murphy (who Windhorst says is also a target). He’s three years younger than Jamison, is signed only through next season (at $11 million) and averages a respectable 14 and 9. He’s not as dynamic of a scorer as Jamison but he’d fit well next to Shaq (stretch 4) and he could fill Z’s pick-and-pop niche in the offense (40% 3FG). Plus, in trading for Murphy, the Cavs wouldn’t have to part with Hickson.

As good a fit as Jamison can be, I’m not sure he’s so much better than Murphy that he’s worth J.J. as well as an another year (that extra $15 mil can really screw with your flexibility). And if Stein’s reporting is true (that the Wizards don’t want to deal with the Cavs due to ‘tension’) then so be it. They’re currently two games out of the 8th spot, by all means, go down that road yet again.

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