Five Trades the Cleveland Cavaliers Should Consider
Like anybody reading this, I consider my knowledge of basketball to be better than it actually is. I think of trade scenarios all the time, constantly asking myself what it would take to pry talented veterans off of other teams. Years of running successful teams in the NBA 2K series will do that to a guy.
While I think that the Cleveland Cavaliers have a great team this year, they lack a legitimate number two offensive weapon.
Somebody capable of making his own shot or creating for others.
As such, the following candidates are (mostly) speculatory. From what I've read, the Cavs are in the market for a "stretch forward," a power forward who can hit the 15-18 foot jump shot.
A role player, in other words. Somebody like TROY MURPHY.
In short, the following is a series of trades that the Cavs should consider making. Some of them are extremely plausible...others seem less than likely.
Danny Ferry, I hope that you read this.
Dude can ball. A supremely talented offensive player, the perpetually underrated Butler has wasted most of his career on a Washington team that, for a multitude of reasons, can't perform up to expectations.
Still, that blame shouldn't be placed on Butler's shoulders. He has averaged 20-plus points, 6-plus rebounds and 4-plus assists over the past two years. He is athletic, and has a well-polished offensive game that revolves around attacking the basket (he averaged a solid six FT attempts a game last season), exactly what the Cavaliers could use.
What's more, he's only 29 and in the prime of his career. And, at 6'7", he is capable of playing three positions on the floor. The former All-Star would be the perfect sidekick to LeBron.
What would it take to pry him away from Washington? That's debatable. A recent article on Hoopshype.com stated that the Wizards are fielding offers for Gilbert Arenas, so you'd have to assume that anybody is available.
Check this out, courtesy of the ESPN Trade Machine:
The Cavaliers would be parting with both Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, key players to their recent success.
But the trade makes sense for both parties: Cavs would be getting talent back, and Washington would get cap-relief, as well as the talented West. Throw in a couple draft picks going to the Wizards, and the deal seems possible (especially in a league where Pau Gasol was traded for Kwame Brown).
I feel like I'm rehashing a lot of what I said about Caron, so I'm going to keep this one a bit shorter.
Antawn Jamison is a great player. His offensive skill set is superb for a power forward, and he is a great locker room presence (or so I've read). He is arguably a better player for his position than Caron Butler.
He would also transition into the starting lineup with ease (he would play off of Shaquille O'Neal exceptionally, as he is more than capable of hitting the mid-range shot), something that wouldn't be assured with Caron.
Why, then, would I rather have Caron on the Cavaliers?
Age and money.
Antawn is 33, and is currently in his 11th NBA season. That's a lot of mileage. He is owed 11, 13 and 15 million dollars in '09-'10,'10-'11 and '11-'12, respectively. For a power forward that plays more like a slashing guard, this doesn't bode well for the future.
Whenever he loses his first step, his effectiveness will be greatly reduced. He will become Donyell Marshell, but with a less accurate three-point shot. Not sure that I'd want my team owing that much money to what's sure to become a role player.
Butler is only 29, and is owed nine and 10 million dollars over the next two years. Not cheap, but reasonable, especially considering he's in his prime.
In the present, though, I'd be elated to acquire either of the two. As I said previously, the Wizards are said to be shopping Arenas; I'm sure Jamison could be had for the right offer.
Woo. That was fun. I love the Trade Machine. Naturally, the Cavs would toss them a first round pick.
Monta Ellis is one of the quickest players in the league, constantly giving opposing defenses headaches trying to keep him out of the paint. He is averaging 25 PPG, shooting .465 in the process. When you consider that he's a terrible three point shooter (.288 for his career), that number becomes even more impressive.
Ellis's downside has been well-documented. He can't defend anybody, and he's been known to be a bit of a ball-hog. Those two knocks should be taken with a hefty grain of salt, though; His entire career has been spent in Golden State, not the stablest of environments for a young player.
I'd guess that being moved to a more structured environment would allow him to reach his potential as a defender (his athleticism is off the charts, he can learn man defense), at the very least.
How plausible would this trade be? Well, he's publicly stated that he wants out of Golden State, so take that for what it's worth.
The Cavaliers are said to be shopping for a "stretch-4," so they probably won't consider Ellis too seriously. Which would be a huge mistake, considering the amount of help he could give them offensively.
Check this out:
Golden State has frequently said that if they part with Ellis or another one of their younger players (like Anthony Randolph), they would want to give up Corey Maggette in the process. The Cavs would receive both Ellis and Maggette, two highly productive players with longer than desirable contracts.
Golden State would get cap relief, as well as young talent J.J. Hickson and Delonte West. Draft picks would also be exchanged. If a trade for Ellis actually does happen, expect it to look something like this.
The Kings have been one of the NBA's most surprising success stories throughout the first third of the season, mostly with Martin out of uniform as he recovers from injury. He's proven to be expendable.
Martin, an Ohio native, has made a name of himself for carrying terrible Sacramento teams and getting injured at an alarming rate. He has baggage.
When healthy, though, Martin is one of the best shooters in the league, as well as a superb athlete. When he's healthy, he's a 20-25 PPG kind of guy. He's only 26, so you'd have to assume that, barring a serious injury, his best days are ahead of him.
Replacing Anthony Parker with Kevin Martin in the starting lineup would give defenses nightmares. A starting backcourt of Mo Williams and Kevin Martin? Good lord would that put up points.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the Kings are not yet interested in trading the explosive young guard. They want to see how he plays with rookie superstar-in-the-making Tyreke Evans when Martin returns from injury.
I'm still enamored with the idea of the Cavs acquiring Martin, so I'm going to go ahead and try this out with the Trade Machine...
According to the Bee, the Kings are interested in acquiring an "athletic young big man." Hickson fills this role.
Delonte West would also be a solid acquisition for the Kings, and Gibson would be included for salary purposes. If I'm the Kings and I'm trying to move Martin, this deal would definitely interest me.
If there was a player that could most benefit from a change of scenery, it's Gay. A superbly talented wing forced to play for some awful Memphis squads throughout his first three years in the league, Gay is one of the most athletic players in the league.
His solid play is masked by name on the front of his jersey, though, as Memphis is generally considered one of the worst teams in the league. They have a sub .500 record for the season, and yet they have played so much better than last year that they are being hailed as one of the "success" stories of the first third of the season by ESPN writer Marc Stein.
Gay has proven incapable of being "the man" on an NBA team, but I think he would be a perfect complementary player on a team with a legitimate superstar. Like the Cavaliers.
With career averages of 17 PPG and five RPG, and at the ripe age of 23, Gay's presence on the Cavs would be fantastic. He is a good enough shooter to play at the 2, allowing him and LeBron to play off of each other. He is also athletic enough to be taught how to play good defense, one of the biggest shots against him over the years.
Unfortunately, Gay to the Cavs is purely a pipe dream. I have not read anything over the season that would indicate the Grizzlies are attempting to move Gay. Not saying it won't happen, but it certainly hasn't been discussed at this point. I'm inclined to think that the Grizz want to see how him and O.J. Mayo grow together.
Trust me, though: I've been a huge Gay fan since he was drafted in '05, and would love to see the Cavs acquire him. Here's a potential trade:
Once again, the Cavs would be giving up Delonte. I didn't realize Rudy Gay had such a cheap contract; it makes him that much harder for a team to get, in my opinion.
If the Cavs were to acquire him, they'd surely have to pick up one of Memphis's less desirable contracts. Unfortunately for trading purposes, they don't have that many bad contracts. Just Zach Randolph, but he's not going anywhere the way he's been playing.
Out of all of the potential trades that I'd like the Cavs to make, this one seems the least likely. Whatever.