In a move that was considered shocking in corners Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to offer young free-agent power forward Charlie Villanueva a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. He now will be unrestricted, which makes him significantly easier to sign because the Bucks will not have matching rights. According to sources, Villanueva now will be one of the Cavs' free-agent targets when teams are allowed to speak with them Wednesday.As you're aware, Ben likes this.
The Cavs are expected to go after him:
Villanueva has a good relationship with Williams, who became close to him the two seasons they played together in Milwaukee. Williams could serve as a recruiter much in the same way he helped bring another of his close friends to the Cavs, former Bucks teammate Joe Smith, when he was a free agent last March.
Villanueva also has a long-standing relationship with LeBron James. The two were in the same high school class and played with each other in various tournaments and summer camps as they were growing up. Following their senior year of high school, Villanueva and James became closer while taking part in two national All-Star Games, including the McDonald's All-American Game in Cleveland. They have kept in touch ever since.
The Cavs have been looking for a "stretch" power forward like Villanueva for some time. Because he is a good mid-range and decent long-range shooter (35 percent on 3-pointers last season), he is potentially a good fit alongside players such as James and Williams, who like to drive and kick out passes. Add in O'Neal, who succeed earlier in his career with stretch power forwards such as Robert Horry in Los Angeles and Antoine Walker in Miami, and that option creates an even better fit.
Yes. This is a good fit. However, what about the future?
The team is expected to consider other players this week who can play that role, including Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess.
The decision to seriously go after Villanueva is part of a larger decision the team must make. Do they go attempt to go after some older players and get them on one-year contracts to preserve the chance at the 2010 free-agent mega class? Or do they not follow the crowd of teams who are protecting cap space for 2010 and take advantage of being a buyer in a sellers' market and create a stronger core now?
Using the entire midlevel exception on a player like Villanueva, using the biannual exception of $2 million on a wing player and re-signing Anderson Varejao would pretty much take the Cavs out of the 2010 market for the top names besides re-signing James.
This is the rub. How much to they consider 2010? Obviously, they want Chris Bosh. And hey, I'd like Bosh as well (or Amare). My question is, if the Cavs can grab Villanueva, do they need to resign Varejao? Or would that be even possible?
If Andy wants a ton of money or demands to start, I'm not sure it's worth it to keep him, especially if they get CV. Because, Charlie Villanueva should start over Varejao, especially with Shaq in the lineup. Now, having the bench bigs be Z and Varejao is not a bad thing in the slightest, but would Andy want (or take) that lesser role.
Plus, we know that Ferry doesn't overpay his own guys (Varejao, Pavlovic, West and Gibson all got reasonable deals) so if Varejao's looking for a big payday, he may have to look elsewhere.
But I'm not sure what the market would be like for Varejao. How many people are gonna over pay for a PF with limited offensive game and medicore athelticism (especially in this economic climate)? Maybe a sign-and-trade could be worked out. I dunno.
Personally, if Andy walks, I'd like the Cavs to use the bi-annual on Sheed and have him come off the bench. Having Villanueva and Sheed as your two power forwards wouldn't be a bad thing (especially playing next to Shaq and Z).