So…Andrew Bynum! It’s a wild acquisition with a wide range of potential outcomes. Let’s briefly run through a good, a (that’s too) bad, and an ugly scenario, then a few other random thoughts, not necessary tied to Bynum.
Archive for the ‘Actual Trade/Signing’ Category
According to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard, Andrew Bynum has verbally agreed (remember that free agents can’t put pen to paper just yet) to that two-year, $24M deal the Cavs offered him on Monday:
Bynum and the Cavaliers agreed to an incentive-laden, two-year contract that could be worth up to $24 million, sources told ESPN. The Cavs hold a team option for the second year of the deal, and only $6 million of the contract is guaranteed, according to sources.
You’ll remember that last offseason, the Cavs kicked the tires on playing the same facilitating role the Sixers ended up filling in a four-team Dwight Howard-to-LA blockbuster. Bynum never played a game for Philly, and a year later, he’s in wine and gold on a redemption contract. Chris Grant is kind of an infuriating GM—the surprising draft selections, the dense smoke screens, his insistence on trying to fleece the other team in every trade—but let it be said he’s never seen a low-risk, high-reward opportunity he didn’t like. Here’s hoping this Bynum move is more like when Grant traded for Baron Davis and the Clippers’ lottery pick and less like Christian Eyenga’s entire career.
Next off-season has frequently been mentioned as the time to sell a big name free agent on:
- Playing with Kyrie,
- Joining a young, up-and-coming team that just made the playoffs for the first time (hopeful thinking), and
- a maximum contract
After the signing of Jarrett Jack, how is the Cavs’ cap situation shaping up?
Things are heating up in free agency. Cleveland is set to snag Jarrett Jack with a 4 year, $25 million contract. Three years are guaranteed; Jack’s age 30, 31 and 32 seasons. Many people weren’t expecting a long-term contract this summer, but this veteran combo-guard probably rated highly on many fan’s off-season wish lists. Jack provides a durable combo-guard to spell Kyrie and Dion, and much needed shooting.
A few facts and stats:
The Cavaliers made a splash in FA today, agreeing to a four-year deal for veteran point guard Jarrett Jack. The deal is being reported for $25 million with a team option for the 4th year. This move solidifies the backup point guard spot that the Cavaliers were badly lacking. It also adds a veteran presence to a very young team. Jack has been around the league. The Cavaliers will be his 6th team in 8 years. Jack had a memorable post-season performance but he played well all season as a capable backup to Stephen Curry.
Jack can shoot. Much like Mo Williams, he can score from just about anywhere and is one of the few players that shoots well enough from mid-range to justify firing a lot of mid-range shots.
Jack is currently in his prime, and at 29 years old, he should keep up his current production for at least 2 more years. That the 4th year is a team option is good for the Cavaliers. Jack is pretty durable, and his presence should mitigate any disastrous losing streaks should the Cavaliers star players find themselves on the injured list.
The Cavaliers say farewell to Shaun Livingston, who was signed today by the Brooklyn Nets. Livingston played very well during his time with the Cavaliers and was a big part of the Cavaliers “fun February”.
First, here’s the rundown: the Cavs flipped Jon Leuer to the Grizzlies for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, and a future first-rounder. According to Brian Windhorst, the pick has protections on it that stipulate the Cavaliers will get the next Grizzlies draft pick that falls between sixth and fourteenth in either the 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 draft. So, while the Cavs likely won’t see the Grizz pick this year, they have a decent shot at getting a lottery selection out of the deal in the long run. The deal is essentially a salary dump for Memphis, who wanted to get out from under the luxury tax threshold, and the draft pick a reward for taking on Speights’s contract, which pays him $4.2 mil this year, and $4.5 mil next year if he picks up his player option.
While Speights was a cap burden in Memphis, the Cavs can use him right away. He’s 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, and can play at either front court spot. In Cleveland, he will probably split minutes with Tyler Zeller (who will start and who will come off the bench is anybody’s guess), which is good news for Tristan Thompson, who can go back to being a full-time power forward. Speights isn’t the next coming of Tim Duncan, but he can shoot a little bit, and he’s an excellent offensive rebounder. He has had a sub-par year-and-a-half in Memphis, where his true shooting percentage declined from about 53 percent in his three years in Philadelphia to 49.1 percent last year and 47.4 percent this year. But then, he’s not a scorer, so it’s not like he’s shooting those percentages while taking 10 shots per game. With the Grizz, he was an eighth or ninth man, which is probably his ideal role, but he’ll fit in quite nicely on a Cleveland team that has almost zero frontcourt depth.
It’s up in the air whether or not Speights will pick up his player option next year. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense, but will he want to play in Cleveland after spending the past 18 months with a fringe title contender? The Cavs can deal with whatever decision Speights makes. It’s not as if they are planning on signing Dwight Howard in the offseason; they can afford to pay Speights if he wants to stick around without injuring their cap flexibility in any meaningful way. (And if Chris Grant and company think Speights is leaving, perhaps they will flip him for another asset. The Grizz didn’t hate Speights; they were just looking to get under the luxury tax threshold. He has some value, and would be a nice addition to a contender’s bench.)
If you need a point of reference for Wayne Ellington, he’s not dissimilar to Boobie Gibson, except that he’s 6-foot-5 (per Draft Express’s pre-draft measurements), which is a more respectable size for a spot-up shooter who’s not an exceptional ball handler. Though he had a rough season in Minnesota a year ago, shooting 32.4 percent from beyond the arc, Ellington appears to have relocated his shooting stroke. He has made 42.3 percent of his three-pointers in 40 games for Memphis. On a team that doesn’t have a lot of shooters, Ellington is a welcome addition. Like Speights, he’s not going to extraordinarily alter the Cavs, but he will be a steady bench player on a team that doesn’t have many viable bench options. Ellington is also a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so he and the Cavs will have an opportunity to feel each other out over the second half of this year. If the Cavs don’t want to pay him next season, he can walk, and if they’re intrigued, they can give him a $3.1 mil qualifying offer and see what sort of offer sheets roll in.
Josh Selby is a player I inexplicably like who will probably be out of the league in a few years. He’s only 21, and hasn’t played much for the Grizz since they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft, but he’s been pretty dreadful in very limited minutes. He’s a career 33 percent shooter, turns the ball over way too much, and has a career PER of 2.7. I was curious why no one took a flyer on Selby in the late first round or early second round of his draft, but then my college basketball knowledge is roughly equivalent to that of a dead man, so perhaps I was wrong about a player I had seen play maybe twice. At any rate, Selby’s a young guy with some talent who probably won’t work out. The Cavs can run him through some practices, throw him some garbage time minutes, and roll the dice on the two percent chance he becomes a rotation player. He probably has a better chance of making something of himself on a bad team like the Cavs than a good team like the Grizz who aren’t going to risk losing games just to give him minutes.
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In sum, this is a great trade, though it’s important to keep scale in mind. The Cavs got something not-insignificant for Jon Leuer, who hardly saw the floor. Because they had cap space, they were able to absorb a couple of contracts another team needed to unload and picked up a draft pick in the process. And two of the three players they acquired, who were a cap burden to the Grizzlies, also upgrade the Cavalier bench. It’s about as perfect a deal as any Cavs fan could have hoped for, even if, in the long run, it might not have a remarkable impact.
But I want to talk about a plausible scenario in which it does. With this deal and the Omri Casspi-J.J. Hickson swap from a couple of years ago, the Cavs own two future probable lottery picks that they’re going to gain access to in an indeterminate number of years. These two trades aren’t as exciting as the one that brought Baron Davis and a top-10 lottery pick (that eventually turned into the first overall selection) to Cleveland, but they might end up being crucial to the development of the team.
Let’s say, over the next few years, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and their 2013 lottery pick all improve incrementally. Chris Grant hangs onto the guys he acquired in this trade and/or fleshes out the roster in free agency. He doesn’t splurge, but he assembles a decent bench. The Cavs, in the 2014-15 season, grab a seven seed and push the Bulls to seven games. They’re a team on the rise. Not great yet, but they’re young and talented and look like they could have an outside shot at title contention if they continue to improve and add a couple more pieces. This is when those draft picks become valuable assets. The protection on the Sacreattle KingSonics’ pick finally dwindles to the point that the Cavs can use it, and they’re now a playoff team with a pick in the top-10 in the upcoming draft. The next year, Memphis falls off and the Cavs land the 13th pick in the draft. Once they’re in possession of these picks, they can try to fill out their roster with young, cheap talent—say, bring a rookie off the bench for twelve minutes per game, and tell him all he has to do is play defense and make open threes—or they can flip the picks for more established players.
That’s a plausible future, right? The deal the Cavs made this morning can help make the above scenario a reality. If and when their current core realizes its potential, they will be able to continue to reinforce their roster, not just through free agency, but through the draft and the trade market. Chris Grant, since the day he took over for Danny Ferry, has stressed that he was going to value flexibility. Today he capitalized on the cap flexibility he has maintained over the past three seasons while also making sure the Cavs will remain flexible in terms of their ability to acquire players and assets three-to-four years down the road when they’re (hopefully) a markedly better team than they are now. Grant doesn’t want future Cavaliers teams to be like the current-day Knicks, Celtics, and Lakers, who clearly need to get better but don’t have any valuable assets with which to do so. This salary dump deal isn’t the blockbuster Andy Varejao trade that some wanted, but it’s a smart move that might pay significant dividends in the future.
Last year at Temple, he was a really good rebounder and shot blocker. He is also 24 and was not remotely on anyone’s draft radar. I do not have a lot to say about this; hopefully he is the next Marcus Camby?
Maybe I have misunderstood some of the Cavs off-season moves, but I thought Kevin Jones received one year guaranteed, in addition to Jon Leuer being snagged off waivers. Luke Harangody signed a $1.1 million qualifying offer. Luke Walton spent most of his time at power forward last year, as the athletic ability to play on the wing eluded him some years ago.
So…the team has eight big men…only one of which is an accomplished NBA big…I guess, goodbye, slimmed-down Samardo Samuels? I am relatively confused.
Cleveland and Memphis completed a trade where the Cavs receive 26 year-old point guard Jeremy Pargo and a 2014 second round pick for D.J. Kennedy.
Pargo finished his NCAA career at Gonzaga in 2009, before playing in Isreal for a while, then making his NBA debut last year. He was not very good in Memphis, finishing with a PER of 4. Long story short; an aggressive and athletic driver, he struggles with turnovers and shooting.
The Cavs apparent philosophy here is, “We have cap space. We don’t have a back-up point guard. What the heck, let’s buy a 2nd round draft pick.” Memphis appears to be thinking “with Pargo, we own 11 contracts for $66.5 million next year. The luxury tax is $70.3M. Josh Selby was awesome this summer, and we just drafted Tony Wroten. He’s kind of a point guard too, right? Can we get someone to take Pargo’s guaranteed $1 million off our hands? Cleveland’s offering DJ Kennedy? Is his contract guaranteed? No? Tell them we have a deal.”
This trade is inconsequential enough that I do not have much of an opinion on it. Apparently a decent back-up point guard may still be at least one year away . Does this mean, so long, Donald Sloan? With Leuer, Kevin Jones, and Pargo on board, a lot of roster spots are taken. One thing is certain; I will need to give up on Jordan Taylor.
I think Omri Casspi is a fine player. He can run the floor, he can knock down open three-point shots, he’s athletic, and he plays hard. I think he’ll be a solid player in this league for a long time, and now he’s wearing a Cavalier uniform. Oh, and he fills a gaping hole at the small forward position.
To be honest, though, I feel like this trade was more about Hickson than it was about Casspi. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I worship two things: defense and efficiency. I feel teams should be build around those two things.
For all his talent, J.J. Hickson was neither an effective defensive player or an efficient offensive player. The Kings got more upside in this trade. There’s no real getting around that. If Cousins decides to play in the paint instead of launching jumpers next year, Hickson refines his mid-range game and gets easy buckets off of Cousins’ passing instead of launching his own mid-rang jumpers, and Hickson learns to play defense like an NBA 4 should, than Hickson and Jog DMC could be one of the best frontcourts in the league. Casspi doesn’t offer that kind of upside.
However, what I think we’re seeing with the Hickson trade and the Thompson pick is an admission that the original run-and-gun Cavaliers idea didn’t work out. A defensive mentality needs to be put in, and the team used its fourth pick on one of the best defenders in the draft. The offense needs to become more efficient, and the team used the 1st overall pick on a floor general who also happens to be a hyper-efficient scorer.
Hickson showed flashes of greatness throughout his time as a Cavalier, especially after Baron came aboard. Some people probably believe he was talented enough to wait for. However, the management feels differently, and I can’t help but agree with them. I wasn’t willing to spend another year waiting for Hickson to get comfortable with his jumper, learn proper post footwork, or learn how to show and recover on defense. Rebuilding is different from waiting, and building a team around what Hickson could someday become is the definition of waiting.
The Cavs aren’t ready to contend for a playoff spot, but they appear to be done playing the waiting game. They’re ready to build a solid team, build around good defense and efficient offense. It won’t happen overnight, but if the team stays the course on the court and in the front office, it will happen offensively. I’m much more willing to wait for that team to come together than I was willing to wait for J.J. Hickson to put it all together.