The Cavaliers spent the the final hours in search of a skilled big man to enhance their size advantage over the champion Boston Celtics, who entered Wednesday with a two-game lead over Cleveland in the crucial race for the East's No. 1 seed. As proud as Cleveland has been of its balanced rotation and experienced depth around conference MVP LeBron James, the Cavs couldn't afford to ignore the value of their hole card -- the expiring $13.8 million salary of eighth man Wally Szczerbiak.
In recent days the Cavs have investigated possible trades for Miller as well as Antawn Jamison (which was rebuffed by the Washington Wizards), Marcus Camby (who thus far had been made unavailable by the Los Angeles Clippers) and Richard Jefferson (who can be acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks as they're pressed by the luxury tax) in hopes of seizing a frontcourt advantage over the Celtics, who have no expiring contracts or an expendable salary valuable enough to be dealt. Could they find their midseason version of Rasheed Wallace (who helped the Pistons win the 2003-04 championship) or Pau Gasol (who shot the Lakers to the NBA Finals last season)?
As much as they were concerned about disrupting team chemistry, the larger issue driving the Cavaliers had to be the continuing speculation that James will depart in 2010. They must do everything possible to win a championship -- not only to exploit his presence while they have him, but also to convince him that his best hope of winning multitple titles is to re-sign with Cleveland.
I've never been a huge Richard Jefferson guy, but he would help this team. He's a big guard who can defend (and has been through some playoff battles of his own). I'm not sure what the Cavs would have to give up (if it's just Wally, than okie-dokie). However, RJ is expensive, making $14.2 million next season and $15.2 the next (though 10/11 is an early termination year).
The Bucks got some more momentum Wednesday evening in their quest to find some salary relief for Richard Jefferson.
Sources say the Bucks had discussions with the Cavs about a possible Jefferson-for-Wally Szczerbiak swap. The Cavs have gotten much more active over the past 48 hours, making pitches to Washington for Antawn Jamison and the Clippers for Marcus Camby. However, the Wizards and Clippers have both given the Cavs the stiff-arm.
Camby is still the guy I really want. God I hate the Clippers.
Some more from ESPN:
A source who has been in the know for years tells me that Joe Smith is keeping his fingers crossed that the Thunder do not find another trade for him now that he's back in Oklahoma City.
Smith, the source said, would like to do a buyout and then sign with the Boston Celtics as this season's version of P.J. Brown.
No Joe! Come on, Boston!? Really? Lame.
Also, I found this really interesting (emphasis mine):
Finally, this question, after the Tyson Chandler trade was rescinded: Is there any chance that Chandler could be traded again by Thursday?
One GM, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me he spoke with the Thunder and thought they were extremely conservative in their diagnosis of Chandler. Although he hadn't seen the medical evidence, he felt, based on his conversations with the Thunder, that the team might have overreacted to the center's turf toe issue.
Yes please. Hey New Orleans, you guys wanna save some money? We got a sexy white guy making $13 million just waiting to be traded. We'll take that young, underachieving, athletic big man off your hands, no problem.
Gonna be a fun (and more than likely) uneventful day for Cavs fans.