NBA: Omri Casspi Worth More Than LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire?

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 23:  Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates after hitting a shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during an NBA game at ARCO Arena on December 23, 2009 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Prior to the 2010 NBA trade deadline, rumors ran rampant that the Phoenix Suns would be willing to send superstar Amar’e Stoudemire to Cleveland for a package highlighted by promising youngster J.J. Hickson.

“The natural trade that makes sense here would be Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson for Stoudemire. The Suns could also ask for draft picks, as the Cavs own their full slate of first-round picks in the future.

"The Cavs and Suns talked about Hickson in the O'Neal deal, but the Cavs wanted to keep him. So the Suns have a history of interest in Hickson.

"They also considered drafting him in 2008 but took Robin Lopez instead,” according to Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer per on Jan. 25, 2010.

The failure on Cleveland’s part to capitalize on such a deal proved to be the franchises undoing. They failed, miserably, in the postseason and LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.

I said it then, and I’ll say it again, Cleveland could have convinced James and Stoudemire to stick around for the long haul.

Fast forward to today, and the Cavaliers made an inexplicable trade with the pressure of the looming lockout staring them in the eyes.

One week after the draft, one of the most promising young teams in the Association decides to trade its cornerstone piece, Hickson, to Sacramento for Israeli Omri Casspi.

While Casspi is a fine player, he is not the impact player Hickson is. More importantly, he failed to live up to his hype in his sophomore season in Sac-Town. He averaged 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, .8 steals and .2 blocks in 2010.

Hickson, despite suffering a down season of his own with an inferior supporting cast, averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, .6 steals and .7 blocks. The Cavaliers effectively traded away a borderline All Star front court talent for a borderline starter.

This is a prime example of why James left this organization.

The Cavaliers’ management, after a successful draft, made a terrible decision, which spits in the faces of every Cavs fan in the world, past, present and future.

They refused to trade Hickson for Stoudemire, though it would have convinced James to stick around. Stoudemire, unlike Hickson, would have helped the team inch closer to a Championship last season, perhaps even win it all in June.

Yet one year later they are willing to ship off their immovable piece… for Casspi? Even worse, they land a first-round lottery-protected draft pick. How this pick will do anything to help this team is beyond me—and beyond anybody in the Cleveland front office.

“The draft pick is lottery-protected next year, top-13 protected in 2013, top-12 protected in 2014 and top-10 protected from 2015-17. If the Cavs don't receive the pick by 2017, they will receive a second-round pick,” according to’s Sam Amick.

That pick will not be worth the paper the name is printed on.

General managers were lining up to land Hickson over the past calendar year and the Cavs' front office crumbles in the face of the lockout. It does not make any sense whatsoever and never will.

This is an abysmal trade that should have the Cavaliers fans outraged, ready to rip down the organization as quickly as they were to rip down James’ ‘Witness’ advertisement.

The front office has made it clear that Omri Casspi was worth more in the long run to the Cavaliers organization than LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire and an NBA Championship.