The Cleveland Cavaliers sent Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers this morning in exchange for Baron Davis and Los Angeles' 2011 first-round draft pick.
Who would have thought that a trade between two teams that are a combined 31-84 in February would have stirred up so much controversy?
Well, the deal has gone through, and there is no looking back now. While Cleveland gets a point guard that is well beyond his best days, they did receive what should be a top ten draft pick.
With all of the talk going around that this is a bad deal for both sides, I think that it is time to take a step back and look at this trade piece by piece.
Going to Cleveland
It's no secret that Cleveland has been a terrible team this season, and no trade would have made them a playoff contender this season, or possibly even next.
However, moving pieces around is exactly what Cleveland needed to do in order to get ready for the imminent post-LeBron deconstruction in the coming years.
This is going to be hard to determine here, because it all depends on how Baron Davis acts when he gets to Cleveland.
The word spreading around is that Los Angeles dealt Davis to Cleveland without the bearded point guard's knowledge, and given his past attitude, he would probably take it badly.
However, his agent came out a few hours after the trade and stated that Davis, "will go to Cleveland, he will play and be a good soldier." However, he expressed later that they would look into a buyout when they get to Cleveland.
If you believe that the transition to the worst team in the NBA is going to be smooth for the oft-troubled Davis, then there is something wrong in your brain. Plain and simple.
Davis is still a decent guard when he is trying, and can dish out eight assists a night, but he isn't the scorer that he was, even when he is trying.
I'm sure the fact that he will now be lobbing alley-oops to Ryan Hollins instead of Blake Griffin will send him into a depression and he will disappear again.
The Cavs are also taking on a large salary, as he is going to be owed over $30 million by the Cavs over the next three years.
There is the possibility, however, that he doesn't completely quit on the team, and holds enough value to be dealt at next year's deadline or 2013's deadline, so they may be able to flip him for another pick or young player.
This part of the trade seems to be too early to determine, but for right now I'll call the Cavs losers for picking up Davis.
Clippers 2011 First-Round Draft Pick
Los Angeles isn't going to the playoffs this year, as far as it seems right now, and their draft pick is slated to garner a handful of ping pong balls in this year's lottery, as they are the eighth worst team in the NBA right now.
However, the ease with which the Cavs got the pick shows how weak this draft class is observed to be.
If a new collective bargaining agreement is signed before the draft (not bloody likely) then this is a steal for the Cavs, as they will have more players to choose from.
This all depends on how they use the pick, if they use it wisely, then it was definitely a good part of the trade, if not, then it wasn't (obviously).
I think (and hope, honestly) that they can figure out the right person to draft, making the pick a good pick-up.
To The Clippers
In the terrible stretch the Cavs had this season, they were without Mo Williams for 16 of their 26 losses, and as soon as he came back, they won.
People have forgotten that Mo was a good player before LeBron left because he is mired on this terrible team.
He isn't as pure a point guard as BoomDizzle was, and he probably will be used as more of a shooting point guard on LA, but he is a good addition, as it saves the Clippers some money and gives them a guy who is 28 rather than 31.
Williams is also much more emotionally stable and is a guy who buckles down more when he is upset, if anything.
In all, I find this to be a good pickup for Los Angeles. Win.
Moon is a guy that was thrown in to make the salaries match more closely in order to make the trade work fiscally, but he is no slouch himself.
He is on the last year of his contract, which will take $3 million off the Clippers books this year, and they could even buy him out if they don't want to keep him.
If they decide to keep him, however, they get a terrifically athletic player (he is a former Harlem Globetrotter) who can shoot threes and play solid defense.
If ever there was a guy to trade for to make salaries match, Moon is the guy. Win.
Winners or Losers?
After looking at this closely, for now, you can only say that Cleveland lost on this deal just because of the uncertainty in it.
It is entirely possible that their pick from the Clippers ends up landing them a good young player, and it's at least fathomable that Baron Davis keeps his cool with the Cavs, or becomes a decent trade piece for the future.
As for the Clippers, they have a win-win here.
They took a good chunk of money off their payroll for the new CBA that is to be signed sometime in the future, and got a pretty good point guard and forward in return.
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