When the National media put the Cleveland Cavaliers down, I laughed.
When Yahoo projected them to win just 12 games this season, I said just wait and see.
And when it was time to make a prediction for this Cavaliers squad, I said 41-41 or better.
It's hard not to get behind your home town team after LeBron James delivered the biggest blow since the Browns got stolen by Baltimore.
I mean, what was I supposed to do?
Should I have said we would be this bad?
Should I have agreed with Yahoo's prediction of 12 wins?
Should I have listened to my friends who told me it would be like this?
I mean really, what should I have done?
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
But seriously, with a roster compiled of LeBron's leftover supporting cast, it wasn't supposed to be THIS BAD.
I mean, Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison know how to score.
Anderson Varejao knows how to play defense and rebound.
J.J. Hickson was supposed to be the break-out player of the year.
And the rest of the guys were supposed to fill in the blanks.
A team full of players who have experience winning weren't supposed to sink this low, and it doesn't look like the ship is rising any time soon.
The Cavaliers are currently on an eight-game losing streak, and taking a look at the schedule, they only have four games in their next 24 that they should win.
That means that come Feb. 1, this team could be 11-37.
The unofficial law of the NBA says it won't be that bad, but it might be.
With the outlook not too bright for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, let's take a look at five moves that need to happen in order for the Cavaliers to put themselves in a position to contend for the rest of the season and the future.
I'm sorry, but Anthony Parker's time on the Cleveland Cavaliers should have been over last week.
His poor play on both ends of the court has been a huge reason why the Cavaliers are this bad.
And I don't know if you noticed, but in Byron Scott's current starting lineup, he is the starting small forward!
If it wasn't enough that he was getting burned by average shooting guards in the league, now he is getting beat up by small forwards too.
I understand that the Coach Scott wants this "three guard" offense, but with Anthony Parker, really!?!?
No more of him, please!
The Cavaliers need to find a contender who needs a shooter coming off their bench and move him fast.
Parker has an expiring contract after the season, which will make it easier to move him.
If the Cavaliers can grab a young big man with upside, that would be great.
Personally, I'd take a future draft pick because it's addition by subtraction for this team.
Moving Anthony Parker will allow Manny Harris to get more playing time at shooting guard (something that is happening as we speak) and trust me, this kid will be good.
Antawn Jamison will be traded this season.
He is a scoring big who can play the small and power forward positions.
He has the ability to stretch the floor, and would be a solid addition for any contender.
If you look at the Atlanta Hawks, there are two glaring issues with their team.
The first is depth at the forward positions.
Josh Smith and Al Horford are the starters and Maurice Evans and Josh Powell are basically their only back-ups.
Jamison would provide depth at either position, and a change of pace from those two players.
The second is Jamal Crawford's contract issue.
Crawford has not been quiet about his desire for a new contract all season, and if it becomes too much of a distraction to the team, it might be time to ship him out.
In Cleveland, Crawford will have the chance to show the rest of the NBA what he can do on a contract year, and also provide instant scoring for a team that lacks it at the shooting guard position.
A deal with the Hawks would look like this:
Antawn Jamison: $13.3 million
Jamal Crawford: $10.1 million
Etan Thomas: $1.2 million
I've said it before, and I will say it again.
The Cleveland Cavaliers need Andre Iguodala.
Forget that he hasn't "lived up to expectations" in Philadelphia.
The guy can flat-out play the game of basketball.
In Cleveland, he wouldn't have the pressure of a first round draft pick named Evan Turner.
He wouldn't have the constant label of "bust" because of the huge salary commitment the Sixers made to him.
He would be able to come in and do two things the Cavaliers desperately need.
Not be afraid to take a shot and get to the hole.
And play the game of basketball with passion.
You can say what you want about him not having a scoring mentality, but you will never question the way he plays the game.
Iguodala is the perfect leader for the next generation of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball, and he is only coming into his prime.
The deal would obviously be a straight salary dump for Philadelphia, as they would rid themselves of Iguodala's contract like they desperately want to.
A deal with Philadelphia would look like this:
Trade Exception worth $14.5 million
Future Draft Picks
Andre Iguodala: $12.3 million
I know I will hear it from the fans about this move.
But there comes a time when you have to part ways with a fan favorite.
Varejao is one of the few bright spots left on this Cleveland Cavaliers team, and I highly doubt they will trade him because of his value as a marketing tool to bring fans to the games.
Not to mention his constant energy and rebounding ability is essential to the Cavaliers.
So why trade him?
It's not about Varejao, it's about the other team involved.
The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that is looking to make a move.
They haven't committed to O.J. Mayo yet, and they just put Hasheem Thabeet on the trading block today.
So why Varejao?
Well, the Grizzlies have been the team to show the most interest in him every time he has become a free agent.
There seems to be an established relationship there, and he would be the perfect glue guy behind Marc Gasol.
The Cavaliers would have the opportunity to snag their center of the future in Thabeet, and maybe even pry Mayo away from the Grizzlies as well.
A deal with Memphis would look like this:
Anderson Varejao: $7 million
Jamario Moon: $2.9 million
Hasheem Thabeet: $4.7 million
O.J. Mayo: $4.4 million
Mo Williams wants to "finish what he started" in Cleveland.
I'm sorry Mo, but as much as we enjoy your passion and love for the city...you gotta go.
Mo Williams has been linked to Portland since last season.
And playing alongside Brandon Roy makes sense for Williams.
Roy likes to dominate the ball, and Williams likes to shoot off the ball.
If Portland is looking to add a scoring point guard, Mo Williams would be their guy.
The only problem is, who would the Cavaliers want in return?
Williams has a $9.3 million contract, which means the Cavaliers would have to take back a player or two to make the deal work.
One player that should be targeted is small forward Nicolas Batum.
Batum seems to have fallen out favor with the big contract given to Wesley Matthews in the off-season, and at the age of 22 he has nothing but time to grow.
A deal with Portland could look like this:
Mo Williams: $9.3 million
Joel Przybilla: $7.4 million (expiring)
Nicolas Batum: $1.2 million
I do not expect all of these deals that I proposed to happen.
But if they went down, this is what the roster would look like:
PG: Ramon Sessions/Daniel Gibson
SG: O.J. Mayo/Jamal Crawford/Manny Harris
SF: Andre Iguodala/Nicolas Batum/Joey Graham
PF: J.J. Hickson/Leon Powe/Jawad Williams
C: Joel Pryzbilla/Hasheem Thabeet/Ryan Hollins
The Cavaliers would probably cut Etan Thomas who was a throw in to make salary match in the deal with Atlanta, and would have decide who goes to the D-League out of Christian Eyenga and Samardo Samuels.
These deals not only help make the Cleveland Cavaliers more competitive this season, but they provide financial flexibility moving forward.
The Cavaliers were projected to have $48 million in salary next season, but if you remove Jamison's $15.5, Williams' $8.5, and Varejao's $7.7 that saves the team $31.7 million.
Add in Mayo, Thabeet, and Iguodala's salaries for the future, and the Cavaliers would have roughly $10 million in extra salary cap available for next season after Pryzbilla and Crawford's contracts expire.
I know this is just a pipe dream and the Cavaliers would be lucky to have one of these deals happen, but the core players for the future would be pretty good for the team.
Sessions is a distributing point guard who isn't afraid to go to the hole, Mayo is an excellent talent who could shoot and score, Iguodala is a slasher who plays great defense, Hickson has the potential to be a stud, and Thabeet would be a defensive and rebounding presence inside.
Not to mention the Cavaliers would have scorers Gibson, Batum, and Harris coming off the bench behind them.
With the extra cap space, the team would get a big man who isn't afraid to mix it up and put his body on the line to make up for the loss of Varejao.
Overall, this just goes to show that the Cavaliers have players available to make moves that could lay the foundation for a more competitive team in the future.