If you are struggling to look for meaningful Cavs trade rumors just a few days before the deadline, there is a reason for that. They just don’t exist.
Dan Gilbert tweeted after the Cavs big win over the Lakers on Wednesday that the front office was hard at work to improve the teams future before the trade deadline, but with the exception of some unrealistic Ken Berger rumors, the Cavs have been mostly quiet just a few days before the Thursday trade deadline. Still, just because there aren’t rumors that doesn’t mean the front office isn’t working, and most of the rumor mill talk has been dedicated to Carmelo Anthony anyways. But the Cavs have pieces that would have legitimate roles on playoff teams, they just need to be aggressive looking for teams to deal with.
Anthony Parker seems like he will be the first Cavalier to move, with the Bulls and Celtics looking like the most likely teams to land him. All that is left is for the Cavs to apply pressure to these two teams and get the best deal possible – the Celtics joining this discussion was the best thing that could happen because it drives the price up. It has been said that the Cavs are looking either for draft picks or a young big man, but neither team has a young big that is worth trading for – Semih Urden and Omer Asik are not enticing pieces – so if they get a 2nd round pick and call it a day, you would have to be happy. Other players have to be added for salary cap reasons, but it shouldn’t get complicated. Trading Parker would open up more playing time for Christian Eyenga and Manny Harris once he returns from injury, and the goal right now should be acquiring as many draft picks as possible.
The Cavs also have the ability to get involved in the Carmelo deals as a third team. Earlier in the season the Cavs were a part of the talks between the Nuggets and the Nets but they haven’t been mentioned in them since December. The Nuggets are set to acquire four draft picks from the Nets, but they will be looking to unload Troy Murphy because of luxury tax reasons. The Cavs can use their trade exception to absorb his $11.9 million contract, and then take back one of the 1st round picks Denver is getting from the Nets. Even if it is the Lakers draft pick that the Nets own, or the lottery protected Rockets pick, it doesn’t matter. It is a 1st round pick for an expiring contract. Expecting the Cavs to get more than one 1st round pick for the TPE is unrealistic – there are just too many similar trade exceptions out there that it has diluted the market. The Cavs should be happy they won’t be bogged down by a long contract, and getting a 1st round pick for it is solid.
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The one player I understand why they haven’t been mentioned in rumors more often is Antawn Jamison. The fact is that most playoff teams that are looking for more offense don’t need PFs. His contract is also so bad that getting even an expiring contract would be nearly impossible. One team Ken Berger mentioned was New Orleans, but since they are owned by the NBA they are in no position to be adding salary, especially when they are so close to the luxury tax threshold. New Orleans has been in the business of shedding salary recently, and adding more salary will make it harder to sell the team to a more permanent owner. Other than that, the only likely playoff teams looking for PF help are Indiana and maybe Orlando and Oklahoma City, but those last two are stretches. Jamison’s aversion to defense doesn’t help matters either. If the Cavs are determined to trade him, they might have to wait until next year when he is an expiring contract.
Other than Jamison, however, moving other parts on this team shouldn’t be hard. Ramon Sessions has drawn some interest, and even though the Cavs might want to hold onto him he would make a solid backup PG on a playoff team, Daniel Gibson has value because every team needs more shooters, and Mo Williams definitely can be moved – either to a team that wants a offensive spark plug off the bench or just needs a starting PG. I think Mo would be a great fit in the Lakers triangle offense, although making a good trade would be difficult given the Lakers assets. Still, a deal that looked like Mo to LA for Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Character and LA’s TPE wouldn’t be awful because it brings in salary cap relief and two rookies with promise. Portland and Charlotte are other teams that might want Mo. One way or the other, these guys all have appeal to playoff teams, and the Cavs don’t need to wait until Thursday to start making moves.
It is reassuring to hear that Gilbert is focused on the future, because earlier in the year it seemed like he was hellbent on keeping the Cavs relevant with the hopes of using the TPE to bring in an All-Star. That was a flawed plan to begin with but luckily the Cavs are still in a position to acquire assets and put themselves in a position to get back to the playoffs sooner rather than later. Still, Gilbert and Chris Grant can’t pass this deadline up without making moves and no player should be considered untouchable. It is going to be a long week for those two, filled with late nights and take out food, but hopefully by Thursday the vision for the Cavs future will be a bit more clear.
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