An NBA title: What does Cleveland have to do?

The Cavaliers reportedly tried to trade up for the first overall pick in the upcoming draft (Thursday, June 28th). They offered every pick they have this year for it.

Mike Ditka tried that one time. While running the Saints, Ditka traded all of his 1999 draft picks, and a couple more the following year, to Washington in order to get Ricky Williams. It didn’t work out so well for the Saints. The funny thing, is it didn’t really make the Redskins a powerhouse either. That’s football though. A couple extra picks don’t equate to instant success.

The NBA is a different animal.

Chris Grant was applauded in Cleveland (and rightly so) for being aggressive and going after the player that they believe will be a star. That’s where we are at in the NBA these days. You either have three or four star players, or you watch the Finals from home.

Is it possible that the Cavaliers could end up with the best player in the draft picking at four? Sure. It’s possible that in a few years Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal or even Harrison Barnes could be the star of the class over Anthony Davis. But Davis is the player the Cavaliers identified as the most like a sure thing. So they went after him. You can’t blame them.

Watching the Finals a bit last night, it was once again glaringly obvious that the Cavaliers need not just a really good player out of this draft, but a star if they are to begin climbing towards an NBA title. Last year they found a star in Kyrie Irving. I think we are all on the same page with Tristan Thompson. He may end up a good player, but probably not star potential. They need to repeat that formula this year. They need a second star to go along with Irving, and another player with potential to be above average.

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

That won’t be all though. The Cavaliers will eventually have to add a third all-star type of player, and that will likely need to be a free agent or young player brought in a trade. We know they aren’t afraid to pull the trigger on a trade. But in order to get something valuable, nine times out of ten you have to give up something valuable. Other than cap space, the Cavaliers don’t have a ton of valuable commodities.

They do have Andy Varejao.

It seems every draft and start of the season we have the same discussion about Varejao. Are we willing to trade him? Last year the answer in the off-season was ‘probably’, but as the season got underway, the answer became no. Then he was hurt. Again. So here we sit. Are we willing to trade Varejao? I think the answer the should be yes. What you would get for him is a bit of a mystery though.

Perhaps the Cavs could move Varejao and the 24th pick for a pick just outside the top 10? Phoenix has the 13th pick. Portland has the 11th, and would already have selected someone at six. Could they be trade partners for Varejao? Philadelphia owns the 15th pick. We know the Bobcats have been looking at Andy for some time. Could Andy be part of a package deal to move up from four to two?

I’m not one to insist I know which players the team should draft or even target in trade talks. Chris Grant certainly knows more about these guys than I do. I just hope for the Cavaliers’ sake that maybe some of the luck that we missed out on at the draft lottery will be shining on us when the actual draft takes place.

  • Jay

    I’ve long been a proponent at keeping Andy in town. He’s been my favorite player on the team his entire time in Cleveland. But I concede, it’s now time to get what we can for him and move on. Sorry Andy ūüôĀ

  • Mike E

    As much as we would hate to see Andy go, I am sure OKC (Seattle at the time) did not want to see Ray Allen traded, but it isn’t about winning right now for us.¬† I think we need to move him for the right deal.

  • mgbode

    to move Andy you have to find a team willing to give up “enough” for him.¬† the only teams willing to do so would have to (IMO) be both of these things:

    1. Be an advanced statistical based team that knows Andy’s value is far greater than what his standard stat’s bear out.

    2. Be willing to ignore his recent injury history as somewhat fluky (and account some of it to the Cavs unwillingness to bring him back earlier than 100% because it would hurt the team – lottery %s – more than help).

    Houston and Portland both have 2 picks and both fit category 1. 


    What player at #11/13 makes it worth trading Andy+#24?¬†¬† Jeremy Lamb (if he’s actually there), Terrence Ross, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters, Perry Jones III?

    {yes, those would be the guys I’d be considering, though not in that order}

  • mgbode

    Hmmm, Houston is at #14/16.¬†¬† I think for it to be worth trading Andy+#24, then we would need to get back both picks (and throw-in #33).¬†¬†¬† The odds of J.Lamb/PJIII being there are #14 are much lower than #11 (and those are really the ‘chance to be star’ guys I’d be targeting).

    Probably has to be a 3-team trade as Houston has intimated that they do not want to bring in too many more youngsters to their already young lineup.  Maybe find a team that wants that #24 pick and find a 2nd decent veteran for the Rockets?

  • Andrew B.

    I would feel so bad about sending him to Charlotte.

  • TSM

    Don’t overlook the fact that without Jamison next year, we could still be in the lottery even with some good selections this year, plus the maturity of Thompson & Irving.¬† With a little luck, we might even get that 3rd star.¬†¬† I think Irving has Westbrook potential written all over him.¬† It was clear that the Heat had no one who could match his speed.¬† We now need a wing scorer who becomes a star (Beal, MKG, Barnes) and another young big.

  • 5KMD

    Also, unfortunately, it appears that if the Cavs want to win the whole thing anytime in the next 5 years, bad stuff will have to happen to the Heat and Thunder (injuries, bad trades, hold outs, ego, etc).

    I guess a healed Bulls team could take out the Heat but that would most likely be in the East final anyway. Not sure who is stopping the Thunder anytime soon.

  • mgbode

    for Ray Allen & Glen Davis, Seattle/OKC received:   Wally, Delonte, Jeff Green
    one of the few moves where Sam Presti clearly lost.

    Presti, of course, flipped those guys for:
    Kendrick Perkins
    Donyell Marshall
    Ira Newble
    Adrian Griffin

    Yeah, Presti still lost overall (though he saved $6mil in the trade with us)

  • mgbode

    the new CBA is likely the biggest opponent for the Thunder

  • Harden, Durant, and Westbrook were all lotto picks. Free agency and trade is where you get your next guys down the chain. Thompson’s ceiling could be a form of Tyson Chandler if we were really, really, really lucky.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Man… I just find it hard to give up a sure thing for potential.¬† Andy is still improving as a player even though he’s 30 years old in September.¬† I think he’s still got 4 good years left.¬† What I’m not sure about is the injuries though… maybe he plays too hard and fast to keep from getting injured.¬† He’s only come close to playing a full season 3 times in 8 years.¬† Nick Collison is probably a good comparison for him (not with injuries, with skill set).¬† If that lets us move up to grab a guy like Tyler Zeller or Terrence Ross with our 24 pick packaged, then I think I would do it.¬† I don’t know if he’s a great pick for every team, but I really like the idea of putting Tyler Zeller in Byron Scott’s offense with our current players.¬† He runs the floor, he steps out to hit that 15-18 foot shot leaving TT to operate closer to the rim, he passes well from the high post, sets good screens, and rolls to the basket well on pick-n-rolls.¬† He’s never going to be an All-Star, but I think he’s the kind of player who helps your stars win the game.

  • Nobody

    And the Heat…after this year they’ll be hard pressed to have the depth they have now (not much)…

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’m very interested to see who steps up to take those shots that used to go to Jamison.¬† Antawn was a great teammate, a true professional, but not an efficient shooter/scorer and a very sub-par defender.¬† If the people taking the shots he used to take can do so more efficiently and if we’re replacing him with a better defensive player, do the Cavs become a better team by default?¬† Or will somebody regress when they become more of a focal point for the opposing defense (like Jamison was)?¬† The spacing Jamison created by being able to hit the 3-pointer probably opened up the lane a good bit for Irving to do his thing.¬† So like I said, there are reasons to think we could get better by default, or we could get worse by default, but I’m intersted to see how it shakes out.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • mgbode

    good synopsis on Zeller.  i see him as a taller David West (w/o the bad knees).

    also, on giving up Andy, think of it in baseball terms (as the new CBA sort of forces that line of thinking).¬†¬† a new, young player through the draft is much more valueable than a FA or player on his 2nd/3rd contract because they leave more room in the budget.¬† a team “controls” a player for the first 6-7 years of their career (with arbitration being replaced with RFA – they can see what the market will bring, but the team can match).

  • Natedawg86

    Andy takes a lot of charges though.  For all the charges he takes, he attempts that much more which result in a blocking foul or a no call.  Either way, he takes a lot of contact just on this part of his game during the season which will probably take its toll more the older he gets.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Yeah I like the West comparison.¬† Hopefully Zeller can guard centers at the NBA level.¬† I’m also not sure if he’s got the¬†activeness (activity?)¬†you’d want on the defensive end… those would be my two concerns with him.¬† He’s a smart player though.¬† If the NBA doesn’t fix the flopping, Zeller will take advantage of that.¬† He did it all the time at UNC and he has a knack for making referees think that they’re talking to their son.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think that’s a legit concern.¬† The way he plays certainly takes more of a toll on¬†his body than most players.

  • BenRM

    I loved seeing this, and I love how I feel that somewhere Dan Gilbert was like “Heck yeh! Go get me the best player!”

  • mgbode

    which NBA centers?¬†¬† i think he’ll have no issue taking on the Monroe style guys who are “true” centers.¬† he could have¬†trouble against the smallball-C’s who are getting more prevalent, but I honestly don’t know because UNC had Henson for those guys (I’d LOVE to know how he did against Henson in practice).

    the difference between getting Zeller at #10-14 and Fab Melo or Ezeli at #24 I think underscores how huge it would be to get to trade-up.

  • DontbringLBJback

    ¬†Yeah, well… I wish he had said that 4 years ago when we had LeBron, and maybe we’d be in the finals right now.¬† We could have had Amare’ 3 years ago, but we wouldn’t give up Andy and JJ… looking back, that was a bad call.¬† Of well, time heals all wounds.¬† Thinking back to the finals against the Spurs, our team played sooo pitifully.¬† Hughes, Sasha, Gooden, Z, and LBJ.¬† They all got outmatched, and outplayed.¬†

  • BenRM

    Amare is seriously overrated at the sport of professional basketball. 

  • Mike E

    You are correct, technically i didn’t say it worked out for them, i just said I am sure they didn’t want to see Ray Allen go……….but, thats a bs answer.¬† It takes a real man to admit when he is wrong, i am not a real man.

  • Mike E

    ¬†And, as it has been reported here many times, it was Phoenix that wouldn’t pull the trigger, not the Cavs.¬†

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I guess I’m more worried about Zeller versus big centers.¬† I don’t know if he’s physical enough in the post to¬†force them off of their spot.¬† I definitely agree that the dropoff from Zeller to Melo/Ezeli is big and I’d love to come out of the draft with Beal or MKG and Tyler Zeller.

  • DontbringLBJback

     3 years ago he was playing very good basketball.  Phoenix ended up making a run that year I believe, based on his pretty stellar numbers.

  • DontbringLBJback

     I could be wrong, Mike, but my understanding at the time was that Phoenix WOULD have pulled the trigger if JJ had been included as part of the deal.

  • Harv 21

    Mike is right.

  • Mike E

     Despite constant communications from both the Cavaliers and the Suns
    camps, fans of the north coast will always blame the Cavs for not
    parting with J.J. Hickson in the proposed deal. It simply isn’t the case
    however. The Suns nixed the deal.

  • DontbringLBJback

    ¬†Rick may be correct, although it does seem strange that there were 10 or more impartial 3rd parties that all reported the same information (Cav’s unwillingness to part with JJ).¬† I haven’t found any reports that the Suns nixed the deal other than than Rick’s article from March.¬† It really doesn’t matter at this point either way.¬† They had 7 years to build a championship team around LeBron and they never got it done.¬†

  • mgbode

    Steve Kerr has said himself on multiple radio interviews that PHX just didn’t value JJ enough to complete that trade.

  • mgbode

    I don’t have audio at work, but I believe this is one of the interviews where it is discussed:

  • Wow

    What does Cleveland have to do? It won’t matter since Miami will be in the Finals every year at least for now. Also they have to wait for Chicago and Indiana to fall again. Unless they have a great draft, I can’t see them even being a top 4 team yet.

  • cleveland__rocks

    Trade the 24 and Andy for NO 10th pick and Okafor

  • Steve

     It was time six months ago, when he had a lot more trade value.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    The Cavs have the following chips:

    Anderson Varejao
    Cavs’ pick[s] next year
    Better of Lakers/Heat pick next year

    What are the odds you can parlay all those into three top 12 picks this year? If you can get Beal, Barnes, and a center you’d have a starting lineup for a dozen years that can grow together.

  • FearTheRoo

    I think getting 3 picks in the top 12 is unrealistic, even with what we have to give away. We might be able to get 2, if we’re lucky. I can see like having #4 and #10 or something along those lines. Honestly I’d be happy with just trading up to #2 for MKG, but that won’t happen.¬†Unfortunately we’re still about 2 years away from the playoffs and the Cavs know this. We have a PG, this years draft we’ll add another piece and probably get another top5 pick in 2013. Add those 3 players along with hopefully TT and we can make a run.

  • porckchopexpress

    Ohhh hecks no!!! I know you didn’t say Amare was ov… Oh wait you said basketball.¬† I thought you said overrated at wearing thickframed glasses, cause he is the bomb at that.¬† My bad.

  • porckchopexpress

    The reason you hire a realtor to sell your house is that the decision is too personal for you to accept and trade offers on your own.¬† I feel the same way about Cleveland fans and Andy.¬† I can’t remember a player whose value has been more badly understood.¬† Its a very odd situation where the people who love him¬†– rebounds defends hustles etc.-¬†the most are also the most eager to trade him because they mistakenly think you can get something really good in return, while at the same time the people who don’t value him at all -injured lacks offense etc. –¬†also think you should trade him.¬† I have never seen a guy who is simaltaneously beloved and begged to be traded by the same fanbase.¬†

    The fact is we have Andy on a very favorable contract and that is great.¬† A contender isn’t going to give us anything we want because whatever skill/contract they give would be equalt to Andy so the Cavs would at BEST be making a lateral move.¬† Nobody with good young pieces or picks is going to trade for Andy because it would make no sense for a team to trade for him when they are still a few years away.¬† So Andy is probably here to stay lets enjoy his game and if they make a run and he is still viable great and if not well it was still a good signing when they did it.

    As far as the luck “we missed out on” lets remember that the¬†Cavs are drafting exactly where they were slotted to – a coin flip notwithstanding.¬† Abscence of “good” luck is not evidence of “bad” luck.¬†

  • 5KMD

    As long as the Thunder keep KD, Westbrook and something resembling a cast and the Heat do the same with the 3 Kings I think both will be fine for 5 more years.

  • Howard44024

    Liked your post and tend to agree. Though Antawn has been one of my favorite players (crazy odd style, good guy) he mainly is a scorer,
    The “funny” thing is your description of Tawn could be cut and pasted next to Harrison Barnes (good teammate, shooter, needs to work on defense) I’ve thought that he might help by using the outside shot to open up the lane for Kyrie.

  • mgbode

    you left out Arizona State alum James Harden.  hmm, who else in the NBA went to AzState?

    there seems to be this guy who played for the Lakers who went there.¬† Byron Scott.¬† wonder if that gets us any good-will in negotiations (if OKC doesn’t want 3 close-to MAX players)

  • mgbode

    today, yeah, I think he’ll have trouble with Bynum and Dwight.¬† I think he can get the strength to handle himself underneath over the next couple of years though.

  • mgbode

    “A contender isn’t going to give us anything we want because whatever skill/contract they give would be equalt to Andy”

    not true.  we amnestied Baron, Jamison is jettisoned and therefore will be below the cap enough to add significant money.


    “Nobody with good young pieces or picks is going to trade for Andy because it would make no sense for a team to trade for him when they are still a few years away.”

    I agree, but there are middle teams that you leave out who need a big man with Andy’s expertise.¬† They have to be statistical based teams because Andy’s value lies within alot of the advanced numbers.

    We happen to be lucky that there are 2 middle of the road teams who have spent huge resources on statistical analysis and have the need for a frontcourt player:    Houston and Portland

    all that being said, it is going to be extremely hard to get enough value to consider moving him.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Thanks Howard… I’ve commented about Harrison Barnes a lot, I’m not a big fan of him as a basketball player, although I see why people like him.¬† I just think #4 would be way too high to take a guy who¬†I expect to be¬†primarily a 3-point shooter and not much else.¬† I’d love to have him if he dropped to the #24 pick, but we both know that will never happen.¬† The guy I really wouldn’t mind picking up at #24 if he’s there is Andrew Nicholson.¬† He’s a power forward with good range out to the 3-point line and although he’s not terribly athletic, he works hard on defense.¬† His skill set would be a nice compliment to Tristan Thompson, I think.¬† At #4, I’d rather take a risk and grab Jeremy Lamb if both MKG and Beal are off the table.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I could see that… Zeller’s body has some room to add more muscle mass.

  • 5KMD

    Didn’t forget about him at all. But he’s not locked up and you pointed out above how the CBA can do bad things to rosters. He’s going to want $$$.

    The Thunder have Westbrook and KD for the next several years. They should be good in that time frame even if they have to let Harden go, assuming they replace him to some degree.

  • Dj Sides

    Trade AJ and Andy and #4 for #2 and Kemba walker