At 12:01 am Wednesday morning, NBA free agency begins. Unfortunately for most NBA fans, most teams will be window-shopping, some teams will be low-risk spenders and some will make an occasional appearance. The Cleveland Cavaliers, unlike most teams will be in the “shopaholic” category in their last-ditch effort to win a championship during the final year of LeBron James’ guaranteed contract.
After trading for 37-year old, four-time NBA Champion, Shaquille O’Neal last week, the Cavs might now have their eyes set on another “big” man after learning that the Milwaukee Bucks will not make a qualifying offer to PF Charlie Villanueva making him an unrestricted free agent. This move becomes major because it allows to Cavs to acquire Villanueva without having to compensate the Bucks. In laments’ terms, this means the Bucks will lose Charlie V. for... NOTHING!
So how does Charlie help the Cavs? For starters, he’s listed at 6’11” 235 lbs. with the ability to shoot outside consistently; which makes him the classic “stretch” forward in the mold of Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett, Lamar Odom, and Chris Bosh. His length will allow him to guard these types of players on a night-in, night-out basis. His defense is questionable, but he has the skill set to play defense, but he has to have the desire to play it.
While Villanueva’s size is important, his shooting and scoring abilities would be the most important assets to the Cavaliers. Last season with the Bucks, he averaged 16 points and almost 7 rebounds per game. That makes him the anti-Anderson Varejao. Over the course of his career, teams would consistently dare Varejao to shoot the 10-15 foot open jumper while the guy who is guarding him to roam and double LeBron. Villanueva’s ability to score, particularly from 3-point range, negates teams from doubling LeBron or Shaq defensively.
Alone, the trade for Shaquille O’Neal was not enough for the Cavs to win a championship, but adding a player with the skill set of Charlie Villanueva (along with a tall, athletic, wing player such as Anthony Parker, Matt Barnes, or Josh Childress), would be the final ingredient necessary for the Cavaliers to make a serious championship run. Getting Charlie V. makes the Shaq trade acceptable!