The other shoe

The Cavaliers have unjammed their logs at power forward:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded power forward J.J. Hickson to the Sacramento Kings for swingman Omri Casspi and Sacramento’s protected first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

The teams apparently sought to complete the deal Thursday before midnight to ensure its completion, with a lockout expected at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday.

Man, doesn’t it just suck that a few years ago the Cavs could’ve had Amare Stoudemire but they refused to part with JJ and now they end up trading him for the Jewish Sasha Pavlovic??

If you’ve thought anything like that previous paragraph while contemplating the Hickson trade, congratulations: you’re a moran.

The Cavs never had a real offer for Amare. Listen to Steve Kerr on the BS Report.  There wasn’t a deal. The Amare talk was to bring down the price for Antawn Jamison, who the Cavaliers basically got for free (remember when we all thought Antawn Jamison was a useful basketball player? *sigh*).  Danny Ferry would’ve certainly added JJ to any potentional Stoudemire deal, but it was Phoenix who walked away from the table, not Cleveland.

Back to this deal: I kind of like the trade. I’m OK with moving JJ and I actually like Omri Casspi, but reading the Sacramento message boards, they’re thrilled with deal. Makes me a bit uneasy.

Additionally, the first round pick that the Cavs picked up came with protections. A ton of protections.

The draft pick is lottery-protected next year, top-13 protected in 2013, top-12 protected in 2014 and top-10 protected from 2015-17. If the Cavs don’t receive the pick by 2017, they will receive a second-round pick.

Given the fact that the Cavs just got Kyrie Irving via an unprotected first round pick, I’m not particularly surprised at all the protections. Basically, the next time the Kings make the playoffs, the Cavs get the pick. If by 2017 they still haven’t made it, the pick turns into a second rounder (which I’m not particuarly thrilled with).

From what I can tell, Chris Grant is betting that the Kings will make the playoffs once in the next 5 years. They’re certainly talented, but they may have some chemistry problems. As in between the Jimmer, Tyreke Evans, John Salmons, JJ and DeMarcus Cousins, I’m not sure who’s passing the basketball.

I can certainly understand how Cavs fans can be upset at this deal.  They just went through a month of “JJ+#4 to the T-Wolves for #2” rumors and now they end up with a swingman most casual fans have never heard of.

Myself, I’m not that enamored with Hickson. Is he talented, yes. But he’s a space cadet on defense and has stone hands. While its true he finished the year with some strong performances, I always felt he’d get pleased with himself a little too easily. He’d make a great offensive play, puff out his chest and then give up a dunk on the other end.

In the end, I feel the Cavs weren’t comfortable giving a guy Byron Scott benched last year $8-$10 million per season, so they flipped him for a young player at position of need (SF) and an extra first rounder. (And if JJ’s ‘nice job’ tweet to LeBron played any factor in this decision… lord help us all).

As for Casspi, the only thing I know is that he started out hot as a rookie and he’s jewish. That’s it. Apparently he’s happy to be traded:

“I’m happy,” said Casspi, who became the first Israeli player in the NBA after being taken 23rd overall by the Kings in 2009. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play. [The Cavs] don’t really have a ‘3’-man.”

You right, Omri, they sure don’t. Casspi can plug right in to the starting spot. I’d say a five of Irving-Eyenga-Casspi-Thompson-Varejao should be bad enough for the Cavs to grab another top 5 pick next year, but we all know they’ll start the year (whenever THAT is) with Davis and Jamison starting. They are the veterans, afterall.

The only real issue I have with the deal is that it feels rushed. With the lockout starting at midnight Thursday, the Cavs made sure they got this deal doe in time. I dunno, I just find it hard to believe that the Cavs couldn’t find a better offer than a developing swingman and a first round pick wearing a chastity belt. Terry Pluto seems to agree (emphasis mine):

Q: Why did the Kings trade him?

A: They have a lot of small forwards: John Salmons, Tyler Honeycutt and Donte Green. They need power forwards. They gave up a player who is not in their long-term plans and a draft pick that won’t be in the top 10. They take almost no risk on this deal.

Q: Is the risk is mostly with the Cavs?

A: This trade will tell us much about Chris Grant and the general manager’s scouts. They have liked Casspi for two years. They don’t say it, but they must believe that taking Casspi out of the losing and constant changes that have been part of Sacramento basketball and bringing him to the Cavs under a disciplined coach will help Casspi meet the optimistic projections they made for him two years ago.

Q: What’s the bottom line?

A: I’m OK with trading Hickson, I just wish they had received more in return.

I agree. The results of the Thompson pick and the JJ trade are going to tell us a lot about Chris Grant and his guys. They were if not bold, at least proactive, moves.

For what it’s worth, Marc Stein tweets that the Cavs are trying to move their trade exception before midnight:

Closest thing to good news heard today: Cavs still very open to making another trade before midnight using their $14.6M trade exception

No deal imminent at last report but CLE preference is using it now since no one knows if such exceptions will even exist in next labor pact

CLE exception expires July 11 under current CBA. But we’ll be in midst of lockout then, so Cavs motivated to keep looking for deals tonight

So that’s neat.

Overall, I’m optimisic about the deal. I was on board with moving JJ but, like Pluto (amongst others, I’m sure), I wish they got more than just Casspi.

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