Welcome Back: Joe Smith to Rejoin Cavaliers

Danny Ferry may have not landed a big front court addition before the trade deadline.  He also didn’t panic afterwards – despite the words quoted by Stephen A. Smith – by throwing money at players like Mikki Moore or Robert Horry.  Instead, he made the calculated move to patiently wait things out.  And when the dust finally settled, we can welcome back veteran forward Joe Smith who has reportedly agreed to terms with the Cavaliers.

Smith, whom I effectively referred to last season as the “Wild Card” after joining the Wine and Gold before the deadline, will bring much-needed size, leadership and offensive prowess to the front court of the 2009 version.  One that still features old teammates like Delonte West, LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as well as new additions Mo Williams and J.J. Hickson.

After the Cavaliers were passed aside by the Antonio McDyess’ of the world, fans can take pride in the fact that Smith apparently passed up joining the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Denver Nuggets to rejoin the Cavs.  Granted, having nearly $3.5 million remaining from their midlevel exception helps – not wasting these dollars in the 2008 off-season now proved to be even more vital.

In 27 games with the Cavaliers in 2008, Smith averaged eight points (on 51 percent shooting) to go with five rebounds.  Many fans will recall the Cavs’ win over the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals where Smith poured in 17 points with six rebounds a block in only 23 minutes of play.  For a big man, Smith boasts an outstanding mid-range jump shot (vital to the Cavs’ offense) and has a career true shooting percentage over 50 percent.

For those of you keeping track, Danny Ferry traded away Smith and Damon Jones for Mo Williams back in August.  We now have Smith back with the team.  Thus, discounting the fact that Smith had to spend a little stint in Oklahoma City, Ferry effectively traded Damon Jones for Mo Williams.  Not too bad, eh?

To add a bit to the addition of Smith, thinking here is that his role may be even larger than originally intended.  It appears that he’ll come off of the bench behind Anderson Varejao to help on the offensive side of things with the second crew.  Brian Windhorst mentioned that he’ll provide depth when Ben Wallace returns from his leg injury, but from what I’m hearing, the “six” in the four-to-six week recovery is more likely than anything.  I would not count out a stint longer than this, but Wallace will at least be reevaluated in three weeks to determine the extent of this absence.  Thus, Smith’s agreement to come back to Cleveland becomes that much more impactful.

And if you’re wondering, reports are that Joe Smith will not dress for tonight’s game.  I would expect him to be in Dan Gilbert’s suite, similar to how Wally, Delonte and Ben were during last year’s transactions – ironically the same night that Damon Jones manhandled the Wizards, never to be heard from again.

Danny Ferry.  Exec of the Year?  I guess the answer to this will come in a few months.  Look for Smith this Friday as we take on the Celtics.  Speaking of…

What others are saying:

“Danny Ainge pulled some genius moves last year to get the Celtics Banner 17.  But that magic hasn’t quite carried over to this year.  The Patrick O’Bryant signing was a total bust.  Sam Cassell never got off the bench.  We’ll have to wait and see how the Stephon Marbury deal works out.  And now with Joe Smith and Drew Gooden being waived, the question is… Did Danny Ainge blow it by moving on Mikki Moore so quickly? Red’s Army (Celtics)

“Joe Smith has had a long career, and most of that career has been spent on very bad teams. He never even got out of the first round of the playoffs until his 07-08 run for Cleveland.  The only big issue here is the question of why he accepted the buyout after saying time and time again that he would refuse, because chasing a ring was just “not his thing”. I missed the Sports Animal interview, but my best guess was that he made that statement under the assumption that he would actually play for the team. After the statement, he’s seen no minutes, and probably was eschewed in favour of Malik Rose on the Depth Chart. Thus, he left the team because he wants to play.” Blue Blitz (Thunder)

“Smith doesn’t make the Cavs a world-beater: It’s not like they just injected some 16-point, 11-rebound monster into the middle of the lineup overnight. But if Smith simply replicates the 8.1 points on 51.2 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds in 21 minutes per game that he had in 27 games for the Cavs last year down the stretch, then that alone is a tremendous boost.” [Cavalier Attitude]

“Could impatience be the biggest factor in deciding this year’s championship?  The Celtics had to know that Smith was being released.  The writing had been on the wall all season, and he could have been this season’s P.J. Brown (i.e. veteran power forward that can grab boards, play in the post and step out for a 15-footer when needed).  Maybe Gooden being released wasn’t as obvious, but why not wait until now to see who would become available that could help you in the playoffs?”  []

  • B-bo

    …and there was much rejoicing

  • Jay

    You’re killing me Scott. Everything I was going to comment, you covered already. Us essentially trading Damon Jones for Mo Williams now that Joe’s back, Danny Ferry being the Exec. of the year, and Boston doing us a favor by signing Mikki Moore. So I’ll just agree with B-bo, and rejoice!

  • Parade thrower, get your confetti ready. Can we reserve Euclid Ave now?

  • kevin

    now anything less than the nba finals is a disappointment!! everyday i believe more & more in this team!!

  • zfg bfzcy

    Joe Smith can fill up the net when Z is out.

    With Cleveland’s drive and kick offense, teams will have a hard time having someone run out at the 3 point shooter with Smith floating in the midrange spaces. Smith is deadly in the midrange space.

    Extra minutes in critical time has been exposing holes in JJ Hickson’s game due to his inexperience. Joe Smith doesn’t have mental holes in his game.

    Fasten your seatbelts! The Cavs are takin’ off!!!

  • If Lebron is King, that makes Ferry an Emperor, right? all hail, nicely done.

    Let’s just keep our heads. We have a ways to go, and Joe, as great a guy and bench player as he is, is not our Savior.

  • Clown Baby

    Now if we can get Damon Jones back it will be like we were given Williams for free! Right? Am I right? Who’s with me!?

  • Gabriel

    I can’t remember where i read it, but apparently Joe Smith has been on a team with every current cavalier except for the two rookies and maybe like Lorenzen Wright. He’s even been on Mo’s team before. He knows everybody and is already well liked in the club house. I don’t think there is going to be any “adjustment period” with him coming back. I can’t say the same thing for Mikki Moore and Marbury in Boston.

  • Six degrees of Joe Smith.

    As a bonus, it carries over to the Tribe reliever and every teammate he’s ever had…

  • Andrew Schlabach

    Uhh, sorry Clown Baby but i’m pretty sure we aren’t going to be pursuing Amon Ones any time soon. He was fun to watch though, i’ll give you that.

  • Scott,

    Danny Ferry needs to continue to get props. Whether it’s luck or genius, he’s making the right moves.

    Thank you, Danny, for putting the Cavs in position to win titles with LeBron.

  • sambofromOH

    I am super pumpted for the playoffs. I have been thinking of what teams we will actually see once we get there. Assuming we get the #1 seed, which I am confident of, the Celtics and Magic will be 2 and 3. After that it gets messy.

    I think Atlanta and Miami are likely the 4 and 5, which means we would play either of those two in the 2nd round. Those could be dangerous teams come playoff time. I think the Cavs would handle them, especially having home court, but it will be a battle.

  • RandyOSU


    Welcome back JS-aside from your ability to provide frontcourt depth, your positive “old pro” demeanor and influence will provide lift.

  • AMC

    Just take a look at that box score Scott linked to for that Washington game for a second… of the 8 Cavaliers that logged minutes in that game, only 2 (LeBron and Z) are even with the team! And some guy named “K. Dickens” logged 7 minutes – I don’t even know who that is!

  • The Other Tim

    …maybe like Lorenzen Wright…

    Well, if we need to clear a roster spot, maybe Smith and Wright will still never play on the same team.

  • sambofromOH

    @ The Other Tim:
    I dont think we need a to clear a roster spot. If I recall we just had a 10-day contract expire this past weekend.

  • Harv 21

    What’s not to like about this move? Other than Camby, this was the best guy for us all along. So many positives: the smarts, the jumper, the rebounding, the fact that we know he already meshes with the team. Don’t forget: even when he comes back, Wallace won’t be in game shape and it will be might close to the playoffs, so it’s sure nice to know what we’re getting over a lot of upcoming games. And maybe a little of his b-ball IQ will rub off on Hickson.
    And speaking of players we chose not to pursue, did everyone see that Carmelo Anthony is creating his annual immaturity-based distraction? Every year there’s a player who refuses to enter a game, but never heard of a player who won’t sit down when his coach tells him to. Should make us appreciate how remarkably well by comparison LBJ has handled everything since he arrived from high school. One freaking speeding ticket is all I can remember.

  • JK


  • Boomhauer

    I think that win over the Wizards is my favorite Cavs/Wiz game, even over the playoff games, because of how decimated our team was and they were still able to beat those loudmouths from DC.

  • Tron

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how Joe Smith’s knees are holding up these days? I haven’t heard anything about that subject at all since all the talk began, but I know that was always a pretty big issue for him.

  • Chris M

    @ #19 – I agree, that game was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, with 2 d-leaguers in the rotation, and on top of that we all knew the roster was flipped upside down and we were psyched, and didn’t really care about the game that much. The fact that they won was awesome.

  • EZ

    @AMC FYI, K. Dickens was one of the 10-days we signed because we didn’t have enough players to field a team for that game.

  • Yay.

  • Hoy

    its too bad he won’t suit up tonight, I was hoping we’d get a night to see how the adjusted rotations would work before heading into Boston. Is KG still down for the count or are there rumblings of an early return? I thought the 9th had been projected as the earliest possibility.

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  • Bryan

    I’ve heard a little too much “Boston is really really dumb for signing Mikki Moore” for my tastes…this is still Cleveland folks, and things like that have a way of biting us in the butt. Still, great move by the Cavs.