Thursday, August 14, 2008

Now this is what I'm talking about

Cavs trade for Mo Williams:

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?


graham said...

It's a great move IF Williams can remain healthy. I was somewhat shocked to see he had missed so many games in his brief career.

They also need to shore up their front court because its pretty thin now, and Z is the only proven scorer. They'll have to address it somehow before the start of the season, but that's fine.

Great trade on paper though. Well done Ferry.

Erik said...

Still, we're talking about the difference between Williams missing an average of 15-20 games a season versus Larry Hughes missing entire halves of seasons and more. It's an upgrade even in that department.

Ferry did surrender a bit of cap flexibility down the road, but the upside is that Williams will be here well after 2010, so LBJ knows this is a guy the Cavs plan on pairing with him for the long-term. Anything that potentially convinces LeBron that the Cavs will be eyeing a title in 2010 and beyond is a good thing.

Agreed that PF and C are concerns. They would have been even with Joe Smith still in the fold. The fact of the matter is that Z and Ben are each good for 15-30 games in dress clothes this season, minimum. I can't see Andy and J.J. starting together without total chaos ensuing, so I think Ferry must get at least one other decent big man before the season starts.

Anonymous said...

mo "better blues" williams is merely the "half" of the "one and a half players" that lebron said the cavs needed yet to win a championship. while i certainly applaud danny ferry for a job well done to land williams for nothing more than 2 post-30 bench players, they're still missing that 1 all-star caliber type of player that could help put them over the top. it would have really been nice to get elton brand, but the cavs just weren't in a position salary-cap wise to sign a big-time free agent like him and i don't care what anyone else says, nobody but nobody was ever going to sign for the mid-level exception to play here, lebron or no lebron. at this point, i think the cavs will be content to just sign delonte west and that's it for this off-season. they will then just wait and see what happens before the trading deadline as the "wishful-thinking" teams finally realize that they just aren't going to make the playoffs and so they will start looking to dump salary. that's when the expiring contracts of wally-world and eric "yellow" snow will be at their peak value and should allow the cavs to make a "steal deal" similar to what the lakers made to get pau gasol last season. we can only hope.

Ben said...

Graham and Erik - I've been reading that Andy has looked very very good in offseason work outs. This trade will allow him to regain some of value to this team. Plus, I think they're high on JJ Hickson and that if the draft were held today, he'd be top 10.

Dave- I think this is their Gasol deal. They just gave up two bench players for a starter. Williams isn't the caliber of Gasol, I'll grant you that, but they gave up two inconsequential bench players for a 25 year old starter.

I think that they feel that Hickson can contribute at stretches this season, though I do think they need a veteran Scot Pollard type big man to shore things up (Nazr Muhammad?).

One of the NBA sites (Slam?) mentioned that the Cavs may try to trade West to Denver for JR Smith.

and if that happens... that'd be one fucking hell of an offseason....

The Other Ben said...

I really like this trade, especially if Ferry has more cards up his sleave for the remainder of the year (off-season or trade deadline moves). Im also sold on Hickson. The guy put up some pretty efficient numbers in the summer league. I know, its the summer league, but I would be very surprised if he didnt make significant contributions this year. The kid is quick, has great footwork for his age, and above average touch from within 15 feet. That being said, the Cavs do need another veteran big, and I love the idea of having Nazr Muhammad coming off the bench.

Not sure how I feel on having JR Smith here. I know he shot lights out last year, but adding him and Williams to the mix REALLY changes the dynamic of our team if we intend on breaking in Hickson and Jackson this year. I know having youth is good, but if you bring on a plethora of it with a guy like Smith, thats a lot of raw talent waiting to develop into a cohesive unit. If this does all go down and we resign West, we are going to look a like like New Orleans from a youth/talent standpoint. I have no problem with that.

Ben said...

I love the idea of Delonte coming off the bench. I think that'd be the perfect spot for him, especially on this team.

However, JR Smith? I know revamping the backcourt with two young, "defensively challanged" players is risky. But I think A) having LeBron (who buys into Coach Mike's defense philosophy) and B) having a full training camp will really help.

Erik said...

If Delonte comes back, even for just the qualifying offer, that will make Wally a big trade bullet Ferry can fire if the right deal arises.

I think Sasha is still the starting two-guard at the outset of the season if no other moves of note are made. But with Delonte back, the backcourt bench situation suddenly gets crowded, with the lion's share of minutes going to he and Boobie.

Wally is reaching the point in his career where he's losing a step, and probably is best-served as a spot up jump shooter. But he has to be a really good shooter to fill that role, and all I saw out of him last year was a sorta-OK-at-times shooter. If that's all he can do, he's going to lose minutes to Gibson.

Long story short, Wally is expendable if the right deal arises. He can still contribute, but there might be someone out there who can contribute more effectively.

graham said...

Wally's gone by the deadline I think. They could let him expire I suppose but if you can get a guy to help get you to the Finals you have to do it.

It'll be really interesting to see what Ferry does because he definitely has some pieces to work with. That's why this move is so great - we got Williams and we still have Wally, Snow, AV, and even Sasha as trade bait.

There should be some opportunities to get a marquee player by the deadline, though Ferry has to remain patient as he has been.

I still have dreams about ATL looking to deal Joe Johnson. Probably won't happen with the Josh Smith signing, but a guy can dream.

Ben said...

I'd like to see Wally traded, bought out, and then resigned by the Cavaliers. (Wally at $15: ack. Wally at $1.5 million: ding ding!)

I think if Wally had more time (like an entire training camp) you'd see his shooting % improve, just from knowing where he needs to be (and be better prepared).

graham said...

I've wondered if Wally could improve here with more time and experience with his new teammates as well. It's entirely possible he could come around.

However, the problem with Wally never seemed to be his ability or getting lost in the Cavs system, but rather a.) his general feel for the game (doesn't really understand anything other than jacking up shots) and more worrisome, b.) his fragile psyche. He totally caved when the pressure was on him to produce. I'm not sure I've seen a more weak-minded player than Szczerbs. I just don't see these things changing with a training camp.

I just hope the right situation arises for us to deal him and/or Snow.

Erik said...

I still think Sasha is the starting two-guard on opening night. He makes us grind our teeth with his inconsistency, but he's athletic enough and long enough to guard the other team's starting SG, and he can at least occasionally make nice plays on offense, even though he is probably the worst finisher in the NBA not named Anderson Varejao.

Sasha is still a better candidate to start than Wally (too slow, and as Graham said, not exactly a great flow-of-the-offense guy) or Delonte (just too small, and really can't impact the game without the ball in his hands).

Imagine if Hickson ends up starting ahead of Big Ben at some point. Between he and Wally, you'd have about $30 million wrapped up in the 7th and 8th guys on your roster. "Ack" is right. But that might be how it all shakes out before the end of the season. Wally and Ben are really best-served as bench players at this point in their careers.

Ben said...

as of right now, I think Wally starts. however, I don't feel comfortable making any predictions until I see what happens with Delonte West.

I'd love to see him sign a 2-3 year deal and back up both guard spots, but I wouldn't be shocked if he's traded either.

But barring a trade for a 2 guard, I think Szczerbiak starts, as I don't really see Pavlovic going out and winning the job.

Anonymous said...

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