Archive for the ‘Actual Trade/Signing’ Category

Initial Thoughts on the Deng Trade

Monday, January 6th, 2014

 

deng

 

Well, that was unexpected. After an extended dance with the Lakers about a possible Bynum-Gasol swap, the Cavs have decided to trade Andrew Bynum’s immediately erasable contract and 3 draft picks to the Bulls for Luol Deng and his $14.275 million expiring contract. I’m going to come right out and say it: This trade carries some long-term risks, but in the short-term, it’s an absolute coup for Chris Grant, and just might save his job. Here are the things I like about the trade:

1) Defense, Defense, Defense

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have always been a Mike Brown apologist, and feel he never gets the credit he deserves for turning the Cavaliers into an elite defensive squad during his first stint with the team. As short-term watchers of Cavalier basketball know, Mike Brown has been an absolute disaster on both ends of the floor this season, and the team has only been league-average defensively while being an absolute nightmare on offense. This trade gives Brown another really, really good defensive piece to play with, which he desperately needed. Deng is still an elite defender — the Bulls are 2nd in the league in defensive efficiency and they’re 4.5 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Deng is on the court. Having a stopper on the wing, as well as a high-profile player who buys in on defense, should help the Cavs tremendously on that end of the floor.

2) He comes from the right culture.

I alluded to this above, but I’ll give it it’s own paragraph here. Deng comes from the kind of team that the Cavaliers should aspire to be. They (were) built around a scoring point guard, they played brilliant, intricate, suffocating defense, and they out-worked their opponent almost every night. That’s how they won the most games in the East during Rose’s MVP year, and that’s how they stayed competitive when Rose got injured. If Deng can get Cavalier players to buy into that mentality, it’ll be a huge deal. (Short version: Luol Deng is the opposite of Rudy Gay.)

3) A target for Kyrie — on the wing!

Deng isn’t the prototypical #2 guy for Kyrie on the perimeter. He’s not a great shooter, he works in isolation a lot, and he generally likes the ball in his hands. Still, Deng is an above-average passer for a small forward, which is great considering he’ll be playing alongside of Irving and Waiters in crunch time, he’s a fantastic finisher at the rim, which is something the Cavaliers desperately need, and his combination of basketball IQ and toughness should be an absolute godsend after the parade of wings the Cavaliers have trotted out in the post-LeBron era. Deng’s relatively weak outside shooting keeps him from being a traditional sidekick, but he’s always found ways to score at a decent (if not thrilling) rate of efficiency, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue in Cleveland.

4) The only player the Cavs traded is one who they had banned from the team for the rest of time.

That sort of explains itself. So long, Bynum experiment.

5) According to the numbers, Deng is somehow not breaking down physically.

Deng has been playing “If he dies, he dies” minutes for the last few seasons, and missed time last season because of a BOTCHED SPINAL TAP. 28-year old male humans should not be needing spinal taps. That’s a bad thing. And Deng, when not playing 37.4 minutes per game this season because I CAN FEEL A PULSE NOW GET BACK OUT THERE AND SHOW HARD ON THAT DAMN PICK AND ROLL, has missed some games with injuries. However, when he’s played, he’s somehow been having one of his best seasons in years. His PER is as high as it’s been since the 06-07 season, and his TS% has only been higher in 06-07 and the year Rose was healthy and the league MVP. So, fingers crossed, we’re not getting a Luol Deng running on fumes here, which was a pretty major cause with Pau Gasol.

6) Expiring contract!

If Deng does break down, or doesn’t mesh with the team, or whatever, guess what? His contract is coming off the books after this season! It’s all the same! There’s no long-term risk financially here? (Again, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Deng is not Rudy Gay.) The only thing that’s happening here is that Dan Gilbert will have to spend more money. And we here at Cavs: The Blog are always willing to spend Dan Gilbert’s money in order to help the Cavaliers. It’s just the kind of giving souls we are. And this means the Cavs will still have the flexibility to sign LeBron! (Note: the Cavs are not going to sign LeBron.)

7) No major assets were given up.

When I first saw that the Cavs had given up two second round picks, a first, and a right to swap for Deng, I thought Grant had gone into a Paxson panic and made a Jiri Welsch-esque “I’m fired if this doesn’t work, so who cares about the future?” trade. However, the “1st-round pick” is almost certainly not going to be in the first round, since it comes from Sacramento and is top-12 protected. (One more time: THANK GOD FOR RUDY GAY.) In fact, the pick is top-10 protected through 2017, which means that the pick won’t come back to bite the Cavs until Sacramento gets out of the cellar, which could take a while, or if Chicago hits the jackpot and finds a franchise-changing player outside of the top 10. As for the second-rounders, it’s hard to feel too bad about them when the Cavs have one lottery pick who can’t crack the rotation and another who shouldn’t be in the rotation. TYLER ZELLER IS A RELATIVE SUCCESS AMONG RECENT CAVS LOTTERY PICKS. As for the pick-swap, that’s pretty well protected too.

DOWNSIDES:

1) Spacing.

As mentioned above, Deng is a pretty poor shooter for a high-profile NBA wing. He’s shooting 27.4% from deep, and he’s not much better on long twos. Considering that the Cavs already have some pretty serious issues with spacing, that’s a legitimate concern, especially since you’d love to see someone able to give Waiters and Irving more space to work in in the paint.

2) Deng is an old 28.

I mentioned this above, but it’s concerning that Deng has been playing 38 minutes a night for the last few years, had a spinal tap procedure that almost killed him during last year’s playoffs, has missed games this year, and was given up for a player who will not be playing basketball anytime soon willingly. I can’t shake the feeling Deng is going to age like an NFL running back — one day, he’s just going to be DONE, and some team will be stuck with a substantial bill. I just hope it’s not the Cavs. That takes us to…

3) I am terrified of signing Deng to an extension.

As of now, I love this deal. The Cavs can get some pride back, some wins under their belt, make an actual run at a playoff seed, and feel like a real basketball team again. Despite the current theory that tanking is a panacea, that strategy generally works just as well for getting teams out of the gutter than bottoming out does. However, I will want to eat a compact fluorescent lightbulb if the team signs Deng at $15-17 million through his age 32 year, because he’s not going to take the team any further than the first round and at some point his next contract will become an albatross. (Joe Johnson is currently 32. That should terrify you.) If the Cavs extend Deng immediately, I will go insane. If they extend him on the strength of a first-round playoff appearance and exit, I will also go insane.

Fortunately, they probably won’t extend Deng right away, because they want to keep their slim hopes of getting LeBron alive (and honestly, LeBron is worth it, despite the odds), and won’t extend him on the strength of a first-round playoff birth, because I still don’t think the Cavs are making the playoffs. This trade will help, but the Hollinger odds have the Cavs with a 10.4% chance to make it in as of today. Only the Bucks have lower odds of making the playoffs in the East, and I don’t think Deng is enough of a game-changer to completely turn it around.

The bottom line, though, is that this move represents a step in the right direction for the Cavaliers, and I look forward to them getting much more watchable in the near future. Things will get squicky for me when the time comes to decide on re-signing Deng, but until them I’m happy about this one. Until next time, campers.

 

Random Thoughts on Bynum, Remaining Summer Moves, and Team Defense

Friday, July 12th, 2013

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.

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Broussard: Andrew Bynum Signs with Cavs

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

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.

So how does the 2014 – 2015 Salary Cap situation look now?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

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?

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A Brief Statistical Primer on Jarrett Jack

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

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:

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Cavaliers Dole out Four-Year Deal to Jarrett Jack

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

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”.

Link to the Present: July 4, 2013 (The Earl Clark Edition)

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

The Cavs signed Earl Clark!*  Apparently the deal is for 2 years and $9 million, with the second year a team option.  Also, apparently the Cavs must think he can be converted to small forward.  Last season, in 23 minutes per game, he averaged 7.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.6 steals on 44 / 34/ 70 shooting.  I am unsure why the deal needed to be for nearly five-mil per year.  Really, as an immediate reaction, not much about this makes sense.  But it’s the Fourth of July and there is beer to drink and grilling to be done…reaction later.

*now you can never respect my use of exclamation points again.

Your Quick and Dirty Trade Analysis

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

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.

* * * * *

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.

Cavs sign Michael Eric?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

The Cavs have signed Michael Eric. Following Summer League, Cavs:the Blog briefly mentioned him here.

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.

Cavs trade for Jeremy Pargo

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Pretty sick dunk here...Look up "Jeremy Pargo Kevin Seraphin" on youtube.

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.