As the Cleveland Cavaliers relentlessly try to accumulate talent to surround MVP favorite LeBron James, the unending question is this: Do they dare mess with a franchise on a collision course with the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals?
The Cavaliers have had ongoing discussions with the Miami Heat about an Anderson Varejao and Wally Szczerbiak for Shawn Marion trade, a league executive familiar with the discussions said.
So, here is what the Cavs are asking themselves now: Do we dare?
Miami has had discussions with several teams lately on Marion, including the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings, sources say, but Cleveland could deliver the most intriguing proposition. Marion has struggled with the Heat – averaging well below his career averages in scoring and rebounding – but several league executives believe he’ll be more motivated and valuable with a championship contender. That’s the reason Cleveland is entertaining the possibility. GM Danny Ferry and coach Mike Brown are wondering whether Marion could be the difference in a conference final against the Celtics.
Nothing is imminent, but it’s an intriguing possibility. Since Marion’s trade to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal last season, his value has steadily declined. Before the season, his agent, Dan Fegan, turned down a three-year, $30 million extension. Marion will be lucky to get more on the market this summer. Marion, 30, makes $17.8 million this season.
For the Heat, Szczerbiak has a $13 million expiring contract, and Varejao has a player’s option on $6.2 million. He’ll likely opt out. This leaves Miami with a chance to negotiate a new contract with Varejao, or let him lapse and allow the Heat even more cap space for the summer.. Still, Cleveland is 20-4 and hesitant to mess with the chemistry. Nevertheless, the Cavs are trying desperately to win a championship with James prior to 2010 free agency.
Brown loves to play big lineups with Varejao on the floor, but Marion could give the Cavs the versatility on defense that he did the Suns. In the same series, Marion could cover Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Against the Celtics, Marion could spend time on Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. For the Cavs, it’s something to consider as the days and weeks churn toward the Feb. 17 trade deadline.
Shawn Marion... I'm intrigued. The guy can score and he has a reputation of a good defender- this is good. But if he had trouble living next to Steve Nash, I'm not sure he'll fit next to LeBron James.
However, I'd like to see how Marion plays over the next couple before really getting on board with this deal. In 16 games with the Heat last season, Marion hit just 26% of his shots from downtown and so far this season he's at 21% (he's a 33% career 3pt shooter).
But all the good that Marion could do on the defensive end would be negated by the loss of Varejao. The Cavs cannot trade Anderson Varejao without getting another big man in return. No ifs, ands or buts- they cannot rely on two aging big men and two rookies. No deal. Now, if they would trade Sasha Pavlovic, Darnell Jackson or (gulp) J.J. Hickson, I'd be more receptive.
There's no way they'd get through an Eastern Conference against Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal, Elton Brand and Kevin Garnett without a legit power forward to help out Z and Big Ben (Marion could help some, but they'll need him to be chasing around 2-guards as well).
While writing this, my brother IM'd me that Windhorst had already shot it down and well whattaya know:
You never say never in the NBA, perhaps circumstances will change. But as of right now the Cavs and Heat are not in trade talks concerning Marion and Varejao. This is from multiple team sources. That is just so you know I'm not making it up or whatever, but it makes sense if you just think about it.
Right now the Cavs are not sure what they want to do but they don't want to mess with this team's chemistry. They are considering their options, but history tells us that teams don't really get serious about trading for expiring contracts (which is what the Cavs have to use) until near the trading deadline. That is a long way away and options will be discussed for those months.
What the Cavs need is another big man and Marion isn't a big man and Varejao is. So if they made such a deal they'd be in worse shape. Which is why I said before, it doesn't make much sense.
Also, if the Cavs are going to use Wally Szczerbiak's contract they are going to go for a home run. This next trade very well may be the most important in Cavs history. So it has to be just right. I will write about this a lot more in the coming weeks, just know that right now this rumor isn't true.