Monday, March 02, 2009

Buy Out

Joe Smith: bought out.

Drew Gooden: bought out.

Who ya want?

Apparently the Cavs are pursuing Smith:

With just hours to spare before Sunday's midnight deadline, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Joe Smith reached terms on a buyout agreement. He will be put on waivers Monday morning and is expected to clear them 48 hours later. Several league sources said Smith is then expected to sign with the Cavs for the rest of the season.

It is possible Smith could be in uniform for Wednesday's home game with the Milwaukee Bucks and certainly should be available Friday when the Cavs visit the Boston Celtics.


Another former Cavs player, Drew Gooden, also beat the deadline by getting a buyout Sunday night. He was traded to the Sacramento Kings two weeks ago. It's possible the Cavs could also consider him, but all indications are they will look to sign Smith. After coveting Gooden for two years, it was a surprise the Kings agreed to release him.

I'm OK with this (more than OK actually). Joe Smith would really help this ballclub and the fact that he was here for the end of last season is a big help.

However, I won't lie, the idea of Drew Gooden intrigues the hell out of me.

Now, let me be clear about this. Drew Gooden: starting power forward on a playoff team? No thanks. The guy can't be counted on game to game and he gets lost on defense. You can't have Drew starting.

But Drew Gooden: big man off the bench who can score? This wouldn't work? For all of his faults, Gooden is a very polished offensive big man. He rebounds extremely well, he has a nice faceup jumper and he can score on the block. Having Drew go against other teams second unit bigs could work out very nice. Plus, you could plug him in at center for the small ball lineup (rather than Varejao), giving LeBron a more consistent scoring option.

(and all the stuff about Smith being here last year? Well, most of that applies to Gooden as well).

Now, I don't expect Gooden to be here and I've been wanting Smith all season, so I shouldn't be disappointed if the Cavs simply sign Smith. And for the most part, I'm not. If it Ben Wallace wasn't hurt, Joe Smith would be perfect. He's smart, he can hit the open J and he defends reasonably well (at least he doesn't get lost). But with Wallace missing a month, the Cavs might end up needing more than just 18-22 minutes off the bench.

I'm also wondering, is it possible they sign both? How realistic is that? They needed a big before Wallace went down, so wouldn't they now need two bigs? Both guys have a history here. Both guys can do things that would help this squad... We shall see.


graham said...

I think if we're going to get a big for spot minutes I'd rather have Joe Smith. Ferry has quietly built up a team of almost entirely smart players, outside of Sasha. I like that.

Now Gooden is a nice offensive threat, but the guy is uber dumb when it comes to the sport of basketball. I'll take intelligent and less athletic than a guy who is going to constantly commit boneheaded plays in the playoffs.

There's a reason why a 6'10" PF with a good offensive game and friendly contract can't find an NBA team to stick with.

Erik said...

The problem with Gooden is consistency. He does have a polished offensive game and he does rebound well, but he is the poster boy for 21 and 14 followed by 6 and 4.

I've seen too much of Gooden teasing us with his potential and proceeding to spend weeks in the witness protection program before his next good game. The teams that dominate the playoffs are teams with star power surrounded by solid vets who give the stars consistent support from game to game.

Could Gooden be more consistent in smaller sample sizes, as a quick-strike bench player who averages 22 minutes a night? Possibly, but there is nothing in his career to this point that has ever indicated that he will be anything but unreliable from game to game.

The last paragraph of Graham's comment is dead nuts on. Gooden has passed through the organizations of the Grizzlies, Magic, Cavs, Bulls and Kings in seven seasons. There is a reason why, despite his obvious talent, he can't hang on anywhere. Nobody sees a player worth building around.

Maybe Gooden can reinvent himself as a hired bench mercenary, but I don't really want the Cavs to be the guinea pig for that experiment.

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