I want to personally thank those of you who forwarded on a recent ESPN piece that briefly mentioned the possibility of a Cavaliers trade with the Indiana Pacers. It’s a tough time of season to be a Cavs fan, especially with the successes of last year. For those of you that have no clue what I’m talking about, Chad Ford recently wrote the following:
Trade rumors keep coming hot and heavy, though most of them aren’t worth repeating.
But here’s one intriguing one I heard today: The Cleveland Cavaliers could trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao and the No. 19 pick to Indiana for Jermaine O’Neal.
At first glance, my feelings were, “Wow, Jermaine O’Neal?” And then I read on…
It’s an interesting idea, but when I called team sources to find out if there was any truth to it, they shot it down as bogus.
Still, I’d watch both teams closely. I think the Pacers will move O’Neal this summer if they can, and I think the Cavs are definitely going to try to strengthen the supporting cast this summer for LeBron’s sake.
Now, I’d love to know which team’s sources were bigger advocates of calling the trade “bogus.” Part of me wonders if the Cavs would even consider moving two big men for a guy who seemingly cannot finish a season without a stint in street clothes. The other wonders if Indiana would move a kid with a ton of talent and leadership skills for an aging, arguably overpaid big man and a guy who is a sub-par offensive player at best.
And then after thinking about things a bit longer, I recalled the last time that Chad Ford “broke” a rumor about the Cavaliers. Funny, I’m stillwaiting for Larry Brown to be “added to the payroll.” I realize that Mr. Ford is paid to discuss “rumors.” But if a blogger does it, he’s chastised for it – thus, I feel a bit of a double-standard and find myself boycotting any and all things Ford until they are confirmed.
Opinion of Chad Ford aside, do I like the deal? In short answer: No.
Ilgauskas is painfully due $11 million next season, and has an option for $11.5 million for 2009-10. If you think that is bad, consider the games missed for Jermaine O’Neal, and then couple this with the fact that he is under contract for $21 million next season, and just a hair under $23 million for 2009-10. Nearly double what we’re currently paying Big Z, and the main reason why it would cost so much in a trade – including a draft pick that we desperately need to turn into something. Water in to wine, perhaps?
Expiring contracts or not, this would be nearly $40 million tied up in O’Neal and Ben Wallace – both of which would not be “expiring” themselves until after next season.
I’m a firm believer that Anderson Varejao will not be in a Cavaliers jersey after next season. Unless he takes a large step backwards, I do not feel that he’ll accept his player option and some team will sign him for more than the $6 million that he would be due. Thus, whatever we do with him in this off-season does not alter my opinion one way or another.
And while I continue to accept the pleas of fans saying that we need help in the front court, I struggle to grasp this while I see Ilgauskas and Joe Smith as two of the better offensive centers in the league. Are either of them able to run the floor a la Amare Stoudemire? Not at all. But since when is this a running team? Now, if we get an offensive coach in tow that wants to install some sort of D’Antoni-esque play, I’m all for it. Let’s go get someone like Antawn Jamison. But until this happens, I’m prioritizing my moves in the backcourt.
Admittedly, I love me some Baron Davis. I do find it odd that he coincidentally strung an 82-game season the year he was due a new contract, but I also think that we would flourish with his electric style of play. Plus, he and LeBron could sport two of the better beards in the league. But, for now, I feel Davis is a pipe dream attached to a unicorn. What I would give to be a fly on the wall during these summer meetings…