Cleveland Cavaliers: The New Beasts Of The East?

Jeffrey SantonAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2008

As everyone knows, the Cleveland Cavs made most of the noise in trade deadline day.

The 11-player blockbuster deal that sent six Cavaliers to Chicago and Seattle,and Cleveland brings in four new guys. 

The new members, mostly likely, will need to be heard from come postseason.

Most people you talk to think this will greatly improve the Cavs, while a select few view it as a panic trade. I am a fan of the move, and the Cavs succeeded in making LeBron happy. In no way did GM Danny Ferry pull that trigger without getting LeBron's take on it.

The Cavaliers have needed a few components to get there and have a rising mega superstar, of James Caliber,is key. In a borderline all or nothing deal, they addressed two of the Cavaliers' biggest needs over the past couple years. They acquired a tough down low in Ben Wallace, a true point guard in Delonte West, and another shooter in Wally Szczerbiak. Szczerbiak will be one of the best true shooters on the team.

This trade obviously did not favor Seattle. The team improvement on the floor with Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble hasn't helped much but cap room is the sole motive.

Szczerbiak could play a vital role with Cleveland, especially with LeBron's uncanny ability to get guys good looks. Plugging him in correctly may be the challenge. LeBron is at the third spot for the Cavs, but with his versatility ways to get Szczerbiak in will be explored over the final 30 games of the year.

Many feel Szczerbiak's contract is what makes this deal all or nothing. He could very well be dished as soon as next year for a straight up trade for another team. A team searching for cap relief, like so many do in this day in age in the NBA.

Thinking entirely too far ahead, a player like Michael Redd from Milwaukee, could be talked about a time or two next year. Not too many would see the Bucks being legitimate contenders one year from now, and may be looking to head in another direction.

Other big pieces were added in Ben Wallace and Delonte West. West is more of a wild card in this deal because it will take time to see how his play will fit. The Cavs certainly do need players at that position, and Ferry is rumored to have been attempting to obtain him for the last few years.

West brings sneaky speed to the Cavs at point, but in a new system with a player like LeBron, who often controls the ball, the success of West cannot yet be determined.

Wallace on the other hand is going to bring the Cavs a toughness that they have longed for since the LeBron James era began. The Tony Parkers and Chauncy Billups of the NBA are going to think twice before kamikaze crashes into the lane.

One may argue that the Cavs lost crucial scoring pieces in Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Shannon Brown, and Cedric Simmons heading over to Chicago. I will explain why Danny Ferry feels confident that this move was well thought out. As far as Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons, they were not going to have any relevance come post-season, having rarely seeing minutes in the regular season.

Drew Gooden was simply replaced by Joe Smith. The Cavs gave up youth in Gooden, but brought experience to the team with Smith.

Hughes' contract has been widely regarded as one of the Cavs' biggest blunders in franchise history. Hughes and Wallace are very similar in the sense that they came to teams (Hughes to Cleveland, Wallace to Chicago) in which they didn't fit in. Hughes made it clear to anyone who would listen, that offensively he never got comfortable in Cleveland. Wallace, from day one in Chicago, did not hit it off with Bulls coach Scott Skyles. In Cleveland Wallace can get back to his natural power forward spot.

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, is going to have to tinker with the line-up until he finds something he's comfortable with. The thoughts of Wallace-Ilgauskas-Verejao combination would make them tough down low. The Cavs arguably have the toughest combos down low in all of basketball now.

All of the new acquisitions must have physicals and will not be participating tonight against the Wizards. Tonight we may see a new career high for LeBron James with only six players of the Cavs roster able to play. Guards Sasha Pavlovic and Daniel Gibson are out with injuries, as well as Andy Varejao who may dress tonight but will not play.

A few call ups from the developmental league is an almost certainty, but expect LeBron to go insane tonight. It may not be in a winning effort, but LeBron will be putting up crazy statistics come game time.

Bottom line when analyzing a trade; any trade is a risk. Danny Ferry acknowledged that yesterday stating, "We took some risks today. But I think they're good risks. I think we brought in good players, who fit what we think is important to us—the defensive mentality and shooting."

Throwing hindsight out the door for now, this trade is huge. The East leaders, like Detroit and Boston, better take notice.

The Cavs may have made the move needed to make them the new beast of the East.