Getting my hopes up

Marc Stein says that the Cavs are active:

NBA front-office sources say that few teams have been as active in recent weeks in trying to swing a trade or two before the Feb. 24 deadline than Cleveland — with Jamison high on its list of movable assets — but increasing apprehension about how restrictive the next labor agreement will be has prompted several teams to back off on deal-making.

Sources say New Orleans, for example, has a level of interest in Jamison, but also expressed skepticism that a suitable deal can be assembled before the deadline to send out the 35-year-old anywhere. It’s true that Jamison has only one year left on his contract after this season, but that one season is valued at a meaty $15.1 million, which means Cleveland would almost certainly have to take back multiple players back to make the salary-cap math work.

The Cavs’ apparent preference, like many teams out there unsure about what the future holds for the NBA’s financial landscape, is preserving flexibility and accumulating young assets to take into the league’s new frontier unless a trade delivers an undeniable talent upgrade. Cleveland also still possesses a $14.5 million trade exception created in the sign-and-trade transaction that officially dispatched LeBron to South Beach, but importing more pricey vets like the Cavs did so often in vain during the LeBron era — in hopes of convincing King James to stay in Cleveland — doesn’t sound too appealing now.

I go back and forth on the idea of the Cavs adding salary.

I really don’t like the thought of adding veterans to improve in the short term, there’s no point.  The Cavs need a combination young guys and draft picks and Jamison should hopefully net you a first rounder (which is what the Cavs gave up for him). But if they have to take some salary back to get it done, so be it.

First of all, the Cavs won’t be signing high priced free agents any time soon, so it’s not like the lack of capspace will really hurt the team (just Dan Gilbert’s wallet).  Second, if you have to take 3 or 4 pieces back for a guy like Jamison (and his large salary) then you could also trade one of those guys for a 2nd round pick at somepoint down the road.  As long as they keep collecting assets (picks, young guys or tradable vets), I’ll be on board.

As for trading Jamison to New Orleans, I don’t even know what the Cavs would want in return. I used the trade machine to come up with a Jamison for Willie Green, Marco Belinelli and Marcus Banks (I’d have N.O. throw in a pick too), but lord knows if either team would want to do that. Who on the Hornets’ roster the Cavs would even want for Jamison? I’d love to get Marcus Thorton, but I doubt he’s avaiable for Antawn.  So… picks? It’s not like Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor or Trevor Ariza would be dealt either.

Chris Grant sure has his work cut out for him.

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