NBA Trade Rumors: Cavaliers Smart to Pull out of Dwight Howard Trade

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 11, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 23:  (L-R) Gerald Wallace #45 and Kris Humphries #43 of the New Jersey Nets look on from the bench in the closing minutes of their 105-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center on April 23, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. Tonight's game is the last home game the Nets will play in New Jersey since the franchise will being moving to play at the Barclays Center in the New York City Borough of Brooklyn for the 2012-13 NBA season. starting in theNOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

It appears, for now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have dodged a bullet.

The Cavs were initially said to be involved (via ESPN) in the four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, but now it appears Dan Gilbert, Chris Grant and company are getting cold feet. 

The news of Cleveland's withdrawal from the trade comes from Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:

Cleveland is out as a third-team trade partner in a possible Orlando-Brooklyn deal for Dwight Howard, sources tell Y! Sports.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2012

The bullet that Cleveland is dodging, of course, is shaped oddly like Kris Humphries. 

In the original proposed deal that ESPN reported, the Cavs would have brought in Humphries (who would sign a one-year contract), Quentin Richardson, Sundiata Gaines, a first-round pick from the Nets and cash.

On the surface, it's not a bad deal for the Cavs, or at the very least, it's not as bad as the deal the Magic would have gotten. 

Richardson and Gaines are decent role players on non-ugly contracts who don't hinder the progress of any young players and more first-round picks are always a plus for a team in the rebuilding stage.

But the main attraction of this trade for Cleveland seemed to be acquiring Humphries. The only question I have about that is simple.

What's the point?

Kris Humphries is a solid player. He's one of the best rebounders in the league (his 18.3 rebounding percentage in 2011-12 was 10th among qualified players), while his scoring and shot blocking have improved the last few seasons.

But the Cavs getting Humphries as a one-year rental is completely different than a title contender getting him as a rental. 

Cleveland is a young team. It won't be contending in 2012-13, and the 28-year-old power forward certainly won't get them over the, ahem, hump. He's just not the star to do that.

If he was being brought on as a role player, that's one thing, but the Minnesota product would only hinder the development of Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, Cleveland's young, high-potential big men. 

Again, what. Is. The. Point.

Of course, with all that being said, it appears a one-year deal would be out of the question (via the Akron Beach Journal's Jason Lloyd).

Fegan told Sports Illustrated on Monday that talk of a one year guaranteed deal for Humphries is "ridiculous" and that at no point has he negotiated a deal for just one year.

Nonetheless, the Cavaliers getting Humphries for a long-term deal is still the wrong move because it's inevitable that he would have gotten overpaid and only hindered the ability to rebuild.

Humphries made $8 million in 2011-12, and it's likely that number would shoot up to eight figures per year. Led by Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Thompson and Zeller, the Cavs have an exciting young core and the only way to derail that is with an ugly contract. 

Not only is Humphries the wrong fit for Cleveland—whether it be for the short or long-term—Cleveland, a small market team, would just be making it possible for Brooklyn to form the NBA's newest super team. 

Why help a conference rival become dominant for the next five years when you are only getting marginally better and not even improving the future?

No matter what way you slice it, this was going to be a bad move from Cleveland's perspective. It's a good thing they got out before it was too late.