The NBA rumor mill is swirling with Cleveland Cavalier headlines. The Cavs are apparently pursuing All-Star Centers, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming—which is great, but unnecessary.
For starters, the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets would have to be insane to take Sasha Pavlovic and Wally Szczerbiak in exchange for their Centers—but stranger trades have happened.
The two players the Cavaliers need are on the Free Agent market—Rasheed Wallace and Shaun Livingston.
Two of the biggest weaknesses on the Cleveland roster were size in the backcourt (especially defensively) and muscle in the post.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is not a defensive force in the middle, Ben Wallace has lot more than a step. Anderson Varajeo is a nice PF off the bench, but not a dependable player for 30 minutes a game.
Enter Rasheed Wallace.
Once a premier big man in the NBA, he's the defensive force the Cavaliers have been missing and will add a new dimension to the offense as well. Few big men in the league can play with their back to the basket and from behind the arc, while still playing like a big man on the defensive end—exactly what LeBron James needs.
He will also bring championship experience and leadership with him as well.
Now for the backcourt: Mo Williams, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson shared both Guard spots for a majority of the 2008-09 season and playoffs.
Offensively, that's fine. They can shoot, Williams can create his own scoring, and LeBron runs the offensive 70 percent of the time anyway.
Defensively it's a greater liability because none of them are above 6'3" and they cannot defend any of the elite guards and swingmen in the league.
Now Shaun Livingston is by no means a defensive juggernaut, but he can at least take up some space on the defensive end. He may be more effective in zone defense, but that's better than what they have now.
The addition of Livingston will put Mo Williams at the two on the offense and let LeBron move without the ball more often, giving coaches more headaches in preparation.
The best part of signing Livingston and Wallace would be the price.
Livingston hasn't played since that nasty injury some years back and would probably sign for the veteran minimum—around $1 million or so.
Wallace won't demand All-Star money and probably won't require more than a two-year deal, maybe around $7-9 million a year.
If the Cavaliers need cap room, they can acquire Wallace in a sign and trade in which he would be able to demand more money.
If the Cavs are serious about winning a ring, they absolutely must acquire Rasheed, and I believe once the trade hype settles, they will do just that.
Livingston is a bonus, and the upside is more than worth a $1 million investment for a year—if he pans out the results can be amazing, if not, try another guard next year.
...and some other guys that won't play.
Wow, a bench full a PF's. No wonder they have backcourt absences. Maybe they can solve that with some draft day trades as well—a Courtney Lee-like pick wouldn't hurt this team at all.