Archive for the ‘Actual Trade/Signing’ Category

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.

On the Hickson trade

Friday, July 1st, 2011

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.

Cavs trade J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

As fate would have it, I’m moving to a different apartment today and Colin is ridiculously busy at the moment, but the Cavs have reportedly traded J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi. I’ll have a full writeup up tonight, but for now I like the move — the Cavs desperately needed a young wing, the frontcourt was getting a bit crowded, and I’d pretty much given up on Hickson hitting his “ceiling.” Again, more coming tonight.

Jent leaves the Cavs for OSU

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Former Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent has left the team to take an assistant coaching position with the Ohio State Buckeyes. My writeup on Jent’s move can be found over at NBC. Best of luck to Mr. Jent, his family, and the Buckeyes.

The Cavaliers trade Justin Harper

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

According to Chad Ford, the Cavs have traded Justin Harper to the Magic for two future second round picks. Fare thee well, Justin. We shall never forget you.

Scott Raab on the Baron Davis trade

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

When the Baron Davis trade was first announced, I had some opinions about what the trade meant re: hypocrisy that I felt would be received as fairly extreme. This blog’s mission statement is simple: it is a blog about why the Cleveland Cavaliers win or lose basketball games, not a site devoted to praising them.

That being said, I do recognize how passionate Cleveland sports fans are, and one of my greatest joys as a writer has been experiencing the kind of passion Cleveland fans have for their team. I tend to be more analytical than emotional in my writing, and currently reside in California, but I do recognize and respect what Cleveland sports mean to residents of the city. That is why I decided to email Scott Raab shortly after I hit “publish” last night and ask him for his thoughts on the trade.

Mr. Raab has written for Esquire Magazine since 1997, is the author of “The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James,” and is both an accomplished writer and an extremely devoted fan of Cleveland sports. These are his thoughts on the trade.

(Note: the only edits made were for language reasons)

I think the essential point — really the only thing that matters long-term — is that ‘now the team has hope for the future.’

I think it’s fairly safe to say that Maurice Williams had no chance of being part of the next Cavs team to contend for an NBA title. (I also think that that’s about the kindest thing I myself can find to say about Mo, who proved beyond debate that he was not a wartime consigliere.)

I don’t think Baron Davis will be a long-term Cav, nor do I think this dooms Ramon Sessions. I concur generally with JK’s opinion of Davis, and of Sessions. I think the Cavs have high regard for Sessions, too, and a realistic notion of what Davis can and can’t, and will and won’t, do.

(Still, if the head coach nails Ramon’s ass to the bench in favor of Baron — the more I puzzle over the riddle of Byron Scott’s tenure as Cavs coach, the less I understand — then I hope Chris Grant has sense and power enough to force Scott’s hand.)

But I think it’s mistaken to focus on the Baron/Ramon issue in view of the draft pick involved. Yes, there will be few, if any, can’t-miss options, but the Cavs’ odds of hitting a home run in the draft have just doubled, and, especially in the wake of LBJ’s departure and this horror of a season, that’s ALL I truly care about: Building the next Cavs team that can compete for an NBA title depends almost entirely on drafting well.

In short, the Cavaliers traded Mo Williams for a top-ten draft pick. I’m [freaking] thrilled about that.

***
I’m less certain when it comes to addressing the issue of ‘rooting for laundry.’ I started working on a book about LeBron and Cleveland fanhood on Draft Day 2009, and I followed the team all of last season as a fully-credentialed media member. Though I had no clue up to the end of last season that the [person who has biblical knowledge of his mother] was outward bound, it took little time to see that the gap between James and the rest of the organization was huge, and growing month by month. I certainly was not the only one to see it; plenty of other folks, inside and outside of the team itself, knew far, far more than I did. But the dysfunction had long since become business as usual, the team was kicking ass on the court, nobody actually believed the King would leave, and no one was able or willing to cal bull[excrement] on LeBron.

What I’m saying — in additon to ‘Buy my book’:  — is that as fans, all we really can do is root for the laundry, and hope that the players wearing it do so with the kind of passion and loyalty that Cleveland fans deserve. I’m not defending Twan’s lack of effort D, and I share Krolik’s frustration with the fans, media, and coach for not calling him out on it; nor am I dumb or dishonest enough to dispute his claim that the Whore of Akron was the best player in franchise history by far.

But that’s a different discussion altogether. Comparing the impact of this deal to The Decision — whatever the emotions of the moment and however things turn out — strikes me as absurd.

Ignorance or stupidity aren’t the same as hypocrisy. Any Cavs fan who rushes out to buy a Baron Davis jersey knows nothing about basketball, or has learned nothing about the essential lunacy of fanhood — particularly Cleveland fanhood.

As for moral codes and sports, the older I get, the more I tend to embrace the philosophy of Al Davis: Just win, baby.

Cavaliers trade Mo Williams for Baron Davis

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

There are two ways to look at this. One is good, and one is less good.

The Good Way: The Cavs traded cap flexibility and Mo Williams for a lottery pick

The Cavaliers are terrible this year. They will likely be terrible next year as well. The only way the Cavs were going to be able to dig their way out of this hole was to give up their current assets for draft picks, and they did that. Mo Williams is a name, and his spot-up shooting ability makes him attractive to good teams. However, he was exposed this season. He cannot create his own shot consistently, his defense is porous, and he cannot get into the paint.

As bad as Baron Davis may/will be in Cleveland, he will not be significantly worse than Mo Williams was. He will cost the Cavaliers cap flexibility, but we don’t know what that will mean after the new CBA gets done. Also, Gilbert has shown that he is willing to spend money, copious amounts of money, on the team. A buyout or something similar may be in Baron’s future.

The bad news is that the Clippers only traded their pick because they believe, as most do, that this will be a very weak draft. Still, the draft is not an exact science, and it still represents the Cavs’ best chances to find the players that will bring them back to respectability. In order to save this franchise, the Cavs’ scouting staff is going to have to hit two home runs in a draft with few sure-fire prospects. No pressure, guys.

The Less Good Way: The Cavs just traded for Baron Davis

Ramon Sessions’ play at the point was essentially the only good thing the team had going for it. Now Ramon has just lost his starting spot to a low-efficiency chucker whose passing ability and savvy in transition play mean he only works on offense if he is surrounded by talented offensive players. He will not be surrounded by talented offensive players in Cleveland. Baron is still a fast-break virtuoso, but I don’t see that making up for all the quick-trigger threes he’ll almost certainly be firing in Cleveland.

Baron is a guy who doesn’t play well in bad situations, and situations don’t get much worse than the one in Cleveland. And he’ll be taking the starting job of the one guy who was playing his butt off every night (at least offensively) and making the Cavs look like a competent offensive unit. I have watched Baron Davis. I know Baron Davis. I named my first blog after Baron Davis. Based on the last decade or so of Baron Davis’ career, he is exactly the wrong guy to turn Cleveland around. And the Cavaliers now owe Baron Davis just under 42 million dollars over the next three years.

One more thing: The hypocrisy is ridiculous

I understand hating LeBron James. I respect hating LeBron James. I have mixed feelings about this team, at its highest levels, sending an official “screw LeBron James” message, and those feelings are even more mixed now. Yes, LeBron has an ego. Yes, LeBron made it about him rather than about Cleveland when he left. Yes, LeBron could have tried harder when the Cavs were getting blown out in game five. It’s fine to harbor resentment about those things, even though LeBron is the best player in the history of the franchise. I understand tearing down your LeBron posters and putting up posters of guys like Big Z.

What I don’t understand is how burning LeBron James jerseys and buying Baron Davis jerseys is anything other than cheering for laundry. Baron Davis has all the talent in the world, and he has made a CAREER out of putting his ego above the game and quitting on his teams. He shows up to camp out of shape. He launches threes and jogs back on defense instead of running the offense. He does everything he can to keep himself in the spotlight and the bare minimum to keep his teams competitive. And he shot 11-32 in the last two games of the Warriors/Jazz series.

And don’t get me started on Antawn Jamison, who plays offense like a 6-9 Nick Young and doesn’t play defense. You want to call LeBron a quitter? Antawn quits on defense EVERY FEW POSSESSIONS. OF EVERY GAME. And nobody says boo. And Jamison and Davis are now the faces of this new, post-LeBron, pure Cleveland franchise. Sure, the team might suck, but at least it has a moral code: “If you’re going to be selfish and not work that hard, that’s fine. Just don’t prove yourself to be really, really good at anything before you screw up, because then people are really going to hate you. Just be adequate. It’s alright to treat your girl bad, so long as she’s the one you came to the dance with.”

This is not my favorite basketball season of all time. But now the team has hope for the future. And Baron Davis. Until later, campers.

Cavs sign Jawad Williams to one-year deal

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Via the twitter of Windhorst, Jawad Williams has decided to accept the Cavs’ 1-year, $1.02 million qualifying offer for next season. Good stuff. Jawad is a complete player, an Ohio native, and a very versatile guy who should work in any of Byron Scott’s lineups. ULTIMATE JAWAD SHALL RIDE FOR ANOTHER YEAR.