Monday, February 18, 2008

Did you hear the trade deadline is coming up?

First, Chad Ford tells us something we already know:

They have been trying and trying to make a deal happen, but they've been stuck on the sidelines while Mike Bibby and now, it appears, Jason Kidd, have moved to other teams. Meanwhile, LeBron James stews. [ed. Does he really? Is he frustrated at the front office or the situation?]

Cleveland's problem is plain. They just don't have enough of the assets they need -- expiring contracts, talented young players, multiple draft picks -- to swing a big trade. [ed. No shit] They have only $6 million (approximately) in expiring contracts, and Daniel Gibson is their only young player coveted by other teams, and he's not available. So while they may keep trying to get their hands on Andre Miller, Kyle Lowry, Javaris Crittenton or just about any other point guard out there with a heartbeat, their chances don't look good.

Yup, the parts aren't there to make a big move. Go figure. Again, I hope they do something, but I really wonder if its going to do anything to placate the fans. Jarrett Jack and Kyle Lowry could be a possibility, but they don't excite people like Mike Bibby or Jason Kidd.

Meanwhile, Jason Kline of the Mansfield News Journal is making too much sense:

While other teams land the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Bibby, Pau Gasol and -- maybe, finally, today -- Jason Kidd, it's pretty certain Thursday's trade deadline will come and go and the Cavaliers roster will look the same.

The man who'll be hold accountable is used to being the target of Cleveland fans' scorn: General Manager Danny Ferry. More than a decade ago, it was his fault for being the bust of a player who cost the Mark Price-Brad Daugherty teams a shot at the finals. Now, if his personnel moves aren't enough to put the team over the hump, he might just drive LeBron James away to a major market near you.

That's the national media's storyline, and they're sticking to it. Their devotion to LeBron's imminent departure reached new, absurd heights Saturday night, when the lead to an ESPN.com column about Bibby's trade to Atlanta didn't have much to do with Bibby or the Hawks at all. "It's the Hawks ... who wound up getting Mike Bibby," wrote NBA reporter Mark Stein, "after LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers chased Bibby for more than a year."

The script must be adhered to, the truth be damned. In this case, the Cavs just don't have the goods to land a superstar running mate for LeBron right now. If Ferry can be blamed for anything, it was pulling out of a summer blockbuster that would have brought Bibby to town along with Argentinean forward Luis Scola and some bad contracts. It probably wasn't Ferry who was scared off by the price tag -- salary-cap hell. That'd be owner Dan Gilbert's call. But when it comes to Saturday's deal and the other big-name trades, Ferry can't be blamed for getting outgunned by teams with more ammunition.

Wow... Way too much sense (read the whole piece, it's quite good). The Marc Stein article that he referenced is quite inane. What kills me is, all these ESPN guys know what the Cavs cap situation is like, but they act surprised that Ferry can't pull in a major piece.

Kline then throws some names into the rumor mill:

While the Cavs don't have the goods to bring in a superstar, Ferry has been kicking the tires on some pretty attractive players. With so man of the teams' formerly ill-fitting parts starting to gel -- Hughes, Jones, Marshall and heck, even Ira Newble have been productive the last few weeks -- a trade around the roster's fringes isn't likely. That being said, here are a few possibilities:

Orlando's Carlos Arroyo is in the last year of his contract and the team's third point guard behind Keyon Dooling and Jameer Nelson. Teammate J.J. Redick, a favorite of fellow Duke product Ferry, has made noise about wanting out because he can't crack the Magic rotation. He probably can't crack the Cavs' lineup, either. Think Luke Jackson without the athleticism or size. Ouch. The only upside he offers is the possibility he'd leave an instructional shooting DVD in Hughes' locker.

Because Wally Szczerbiak played at Miami of Ohio and the Cavs play at Quicken Loans Arena of Ohio, Wally would be a fan favorite. But it's hard to see how he'd fit beside LeBron and that's not taking into consideration his declining play and hefty price tag (he's owed $13 million in 2008-09). The Sonics haven't been able to give him away for good reason.

Golden State's Mickael Pietrus is an intriguing player who is headed to free agency this summer and has been trying to get out of Golden State for years now. Pietrus has the makeup of a defensive stopper but his game has developed beyond that.

Here's a couple more point guards who have been on the Cavaliers' radar for more than a year: Portland's Jarrett Jack and Memphis' Kyle Lowry. Problem is, neither can shoot a lick. Both are losing out in a numbers game -- Portland also has Steve Blake and Sergio Rodriguez; Memphis Mike Conley, Javaris Crittenton and Juan Carlos Navarro -- and the Cavs actually have the expiring contracts to land them.

The Grizzlies' Mike Miller is reportedly on the block and he's a real value at about $9 million a year for two seasons beyond this one. If he's moved this week, it'll be to a team with something better to offer than a package built around Newble's expiring deal and other cap fodder.

The Cavs might take a flyer on little-used Houston swingman Kirk Snyder. He probably could be had for last year's disappoint first-round pick, Shannon Brown, but isn't much better. Devin Brown is better than both of them, which would make such a sideways move irrelevant.

Of all the "available" point guards I've heard the Cavs linked to, the one I'd like the most would be Carlos Arroyo (OK, I lied, Kirk Hinrich would be my top pick). Arroyo is stuck behind Jameer Nelson and at some point, you'd think Orlando would trade him.

Mickael Pietrus is an intriguing possibility as well. There's no way the Cavs would be able to give up Hughes in the deal, but a defensive trio of Hughes, Pietrus and James would be rather formidable.

Finally, Sam Smith tries to make a mountain out of a molehill:

LeBron James needs help, and he's unhappy about not getting it.

Saturday's Mike Bibby trade, in which Sacramento sent him to Atlanta for four players, coupled with New Jersey still trying to move Jason Kidd to Dallas reportedly has James fuming.

"San Antonio is the Western champion. We are the Eastern champion. Everyone talks about everyone else," James said in a sarcastic rant.

"We're not that good. That's what everyone talks about. We beat Detroit. We didn't beat Detroit; Detroit beat themselves. Washington was missing key guys, and New Jersey didn't play up to their capabilities. Enough of the Cavs now.

"You all got me a little upset."

Asked if his team needs to make a deal, James tried to be delicate: "If we can get better, you want to be in that position. This is nothing to do with any of my teammates I have in my locker room. They know I'd never disrespect their games. But as a competitor, if we can get better before [the trade deadline] Thursday, hopefully we can.

"I'm not the only guy who wants to get better. I'm the only one who gets interviewed."

The talk is that James' associates are making it clear to the Cavs that improving the team quickly remains a litmus test for the forward's decision on whether he'll look favorably on re-signing in Cleveland. [Note: in two years!]

The clock is ticking toward the trade deadline. Anderson Varejao and Drew Gooden are the names that come up most often, though the Cavs would most like to deal Larry Hughes. Acquiring Ron Artest from the Kings remains possible if the Cavs would take some of Sacramento's bad contracts. The question is how much they have to do to satisfy James.

First of all, the tone of the article doesn't match LeBron's words at all. Smith says that the trade has James fuming and proceeds to print a rant about how his team gets no respect. There's no mention of Jason Kidd or lack of help in the rant. Then he was asked if he wanted his team to improve and his answer was... yes. Shocking, right? I mean, expected James to express his desire for the team to get worse, but nope, he fooled me, he wants to get better.

In case you were wondering how full of crap Smith is, he mentions how Varejao and Gooden are the names that come up most often. I'm sure Gooden has been a part of any major talks that the Cavs have had, but Varejao? Not so much. Since he signed his contract so late in the year, Andy won't be eligible to be traded until after this season's deadline.

I can't wait until Thursday.

2 comments:

graham said...

I'm really glad you brought up this Sam Smith story. It's hard to understand how badly he misrepresented was James words, unless he was just trying to blatantly invent rumors (which he clearly was).

If anything, LeBron was defending himself and his team against the increasingly ignorant NBA media. Truly pathetic.

Erik said...

Sam Smith has been on the "LeBron needs to go to a big market (Chicago?) for the good of the league" bandwagon for several years. Windhorst deeply respects the guy. I can't stand him.

I'm actually shocked that Chad Ford called out his media cohorts for their "LeBron isn't happy in Cleveland" spin because he's usually at the forefront of such things.

I can read Chris Broussard because he understands what LeBron means to us, and what losing him would do to the Cavs. I can read John Hollinger (most of the time) because his takes are usually realistic.

But for the Marc Steins, Ric Buchers and Charley Rosens of the world who think the biggest story surrounding LeBron is the countdown to when he finally ditches our little rust-belt backwater for a real city, I stay away from them like the plague. It's really pathetic. LeBron is breaking some record every month, every night, and all they can write about is where he's going in two years.

It's big-market penis envy, plain and simple. We have something they want, so they think it's their birthright to get it. For the good of basketball's worldwide image, no? After all, no one's going to look twice at LeBron when he's playing in Dumpwater, Ohio in front of a bunch of farm hicks who count bug zappers as their primary form of summertime entertainment.

"Heyyy paw! You'dn think that LEEbron is gonna stay here? Or iz he gonna-goes-ta that there BIG citee up'n in NEW YERK?? GAWSH, ya think theyd'n got BIG bildins there? Ida never SEEN no real BIG bildins before! Now, whered'n I put my beef jerky? Caint have no supper without beef jerky..."