Never let it be said that the Cavaliers won't spend money to make sure LeBron James stays put in Cleveland. Danny Ferry went to work with some of his $30 million war chest of expiring contracts, and came out of it with a point guard who should provide a major upgrade for the Cavs' beleaguered offense.
Wednesday's trade for Milwaukee's Mo Williams also sent Joe Smith to Oklahoma City and Damon Jones to Milwaukee and returned Oklahoma City veteran Adrian Griffin; additionally, Luke Ridnour went from Oklahoma City (if he ever bothered moving there) to Milwaukee and Desmond Mason went from Milwaukee to Oklahoma City.
Cleveland takes on the final five years and $44 million of Williams' deal, but that's a small price to pay to make sure King James stays put in 2010. Williams isn't a pure point guard, but with LeBron handling the ball so much, he doesn't need to be.
The Cavs gave up: Joe Smith and Damon Jones. The Cavs received: Mo Williams.
Um... more trades like this, please.
The Cavs only gave up two veteran bench players and they get back a 25 year old point guard who averaged 17 and 6 last season. The Cavs are adding Williams without giving up any of their 'big' assets like Wally Szczerbiak's $15 million expiring contract or Anderson Varejao. Plus, they didn't lose any draft picks either. Just Smith and Jones.
Now, Williams does come with some issues, though I don't think I would consider any of them 'major'. He's a shoot first point guard, he's had some nagging injuries over the years, his contract is a bit hefty and he isn't exactly known for his defense.
I'm not worried about the shoot first issue, as the Cavs need someone else to put the ball in the basket and I'd imagine Williams will defer to James in the right spots. I don't mind his contract to much (5 years left for a total of $44 mil) because Williams is A) 25 and B) playing with LeBron. He'll be making roughly $8-9 mil per year, but he's young and if he works out, it could help keep LeBron here.
The injuries kinda worry me (Williams has only cracked the 70 game mark once, in 04-05 where he appeared in 80 games), but not to the extent that I'd be questioning the deal. And the defense? Williams is showing up to a team coached by Mike Brown. He'll play defense.
I like this move. Williams gives the Cavs their first legitimate point guard since Andre Miller, he'll move Delonte West to the bench (where I think he'll shine) and he gives the Cavs another scoring option. This should make LeBron's life easier and it'll take away any of Mike Brown's excuses for the crappy offense (you now have a PG, Mike).
To me, the best part of this deal is what the Cavs didn't give up. They got Williams, but they didn't blow their wad doing it. They're still in a great spot to make a major acquisition at the trading deadline. They still have Wally! $15 million in expiring deals. They could still add someone like Vince Carter very easily.
I think you gotta give Ferry credit, he upgraded the team without giving up anyone of real significance. You gotta like that, no?