Cavaliers

Cavaliers: Mid-Season Target Practice

(Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out Cavalier Attitude’s complimentary portion of this two-part series)

By now, we are sure that most of you were able to catch a recent piece by Patrick McManamon of the Akron Beacon-Journal in which he laid out some pretty solid details regarding the future of the Cavaliers; specifically regarding LeBron James and 2010. In fact, it was relevant enough that even someof the biggest LeBron-staying-in-Cleveland doubters took a step back and said, “Hey, these guys may actually have a point!”

And a point it is. As the argument that surrounds a possible exodus to another city of choice is the fact that LeBron’s supporting cast in Cleveland may not exactly be the best. But with the cap space that we have been harping about for months, coupled with the fact that we can offer James more than any other team, McManamon drops the bomb.

The vision and it’s not a pipe dream has James staying and playing on the same team as Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. Or Josh Howard. Or Amare Stoudamire. Or any of the other big-name NBA guys who can become a free agent in the summer of 2010…

There is only one NBA team positioned to sign two superstars in 2010, and that’s the Cavaliers.

That’s because there’s only one team with a superstar and the cap room to sign another.

Everyone has been focusing on the cap space of the New Jersey Nets or the New York Knicks or Athens, Greece, but the Cavs quietly have manipulated themselves to the point that they have more salary-cap room than anyone for that off-season…

And I know what you’re thinking. When it comes down to free agency, other teams can offer their superstars more money than we can, so why would they sign here as UFAs instead of their own team? But slow down. We aren’t talking free agency here. Think bigger picture. Free agency is what happens when you give Danny Ferry a boat load of cash and he spends it on a trio of Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Larry Hughes.

But when you tie his hands and force him to actually use warm-blooded assets, he seems to do a bit better. He turned two of the three above into Delonte West and company. He somehow used the third to add Maurice Williams, an 18 and six point guard that we’ve needed since Terrell Brandon donned the blue flash.

Alas, we would have to use the expiring deals which we traded for last season, perhaps coupling them with some partial upside? Maybe add in a draft pick or two? Who needs those anyways!? (Obviously, I speak in jest; but you know what I mean)

And while we have spent the last few weeks pondering the addition of a “veteran big man,” McManamon’s latest shifts the tables a bit. No, we aren’t talking Scot Pollard 2.0 here. Bigger and better my friends. And while Amar over at Cavalier Attitude lays out his potential targets, the duration of this piece will give you mine. Without furter adu…

Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Miami Heat

Pros: A long forward with stellar defense that can also drain a jump shot. Marion is an excellent shot-blocker with his back to the basket and averages over two steals per game, usually resulting in a transition basket. He is a very good free throw shooter, albeit with one of the uglier releases in the game, and thrives on playing with other superstars. He is a number-generating machine without any glaring weaknesses.

Cons: Marion’s a max player, and will be 31-years old come this May. The last time we spent money on a few guys on the wrong side of 30, he tried to enter a game without his jersey on. But unlike Donyell Marshall, Marion’s deal expires after this year when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Thus, unless he was willing to take a small cut in pay (unlikely given his history), we would have to tie up some money through the 2010 season.

What would it take? Salary wise, a combination of Wally Szczerbiak and Sasha Pavlovic would get the job done. We would exchange expiring deals, while Miami would also take on a swingman in Pavlovic for the remainder of this season and all of the next.

Likelihood: This wholly depends on Miami’s ability to bounce back into the playoff hunt. Dwyane Wade is completely healthy – as evidenced by the Olympics – and this has an unfortunate scent of David Robinson ultimately being paired with Tim Duncan after one down year. But if Marion isn’t in the future plans, and Michael Beasley emerges as the power forward of the future, Miami could easily part ways with Marion.

**

Al Harrington, PF/C, Golden State Warriors

Pros: Though not the best defender, Harrington provides an ability to score from all areas of the court. He is one of the best three-point shooting big men in the game and can run with the best of them. He has some competition down low with the newly re-signed Andris Biedrins, so joining a team that would be able to exploit his strengths would be in his best interest. Mostly because…

Cons: He too is in the final year of his deal. Though only making about $9 million this coming season, Harrington will likely be looking for an extension if he comes to Cleveland. With J.J. Hickson waiting in the wings, would we be willing to run Harrington as the center of our future? Plus, is he even a “superstar” at this point? And how would he do in an offense that isn’t focused solely on the run?

What would it take? Eric Snow’s expiring deal alone works. Would that be enough for Don Nelson?

Likelihood: This depends solely on how the Warriors start off. They’ve tied up considerable money in Monta Ellis, Biedrins and Corey Maggette, so they could be looking for some cap relief – which is all Eric Snow really is at this point. The Warriors also signed Rony Turiaf, so they have a fill-in at the four if needed. I would say that this one could easily happen if the Cavaliers were interested enough and the Warriors realized that they’re not making the playoffs regardless of Harrington’s production.

**

Chris Bosh, PF/C, Toronto Raptors

Pros: Where to start. Bosh is from the same draft class as LeBron, and could man the post for the Cavaliers for the next decade if needed. He’s a 20-point scorer that can hit the glass to about eight or nine boards per game with a block thrown in for good measure. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s played with James for the last four summers thanks to the Olympic team set-up. Might I add that he was one of the few players that I’ve seen play the four with LeBron and actually understand James’ style of play instead of just clogging the lane. (Drew Gooden, anyone?)

Cons: He would likely cost close to the LeBron James range, tying up the Cavaliers cap space for the duration of their collective stay. Could Ferry find a supporting cast as well, though paying them a lot less money at the same time? Plus, Toronto is not exactly hurting for cap space either, and could be a strong competitor this off-season with addition of Jermaine O’Neal.

What would it take? Without knowing the trade value of Delonte West just yet, combined with the current restrictions on Daniel Gibson, we’re looking at a combination of Wally and rookie forward J.J. Hickson – who I’m very high on. But to get Toronto to budge, we would likely have to sign-and-add West to the mix, taking back a far lesser player in return to make salaries work. Adding Sasha on our end and taking back someone like Roko Ukic works as well.

Likelihood: This would be earth-shattering given our need for a big, and the Raps (a divisional competitor, mind you) know it. But they did just tie up $20+ million in Jermaine O’Neal, and neither are particularly strong at the center spot. If there’s only room for one power forward, and say the loss of T.J. Ford hurts them more than it helped, Toronto could easily be the odd man out in the East if Miami and Chicago rebound. A kid can dream, can’t he? Speaking of…

**

Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Miami Heat

Pros: C’mon now. He’s the total package, assuming you don’t long for three-balls. He’s young, can get to the rack with the best of them and just got done tearing a new one into the rest of the world. Could you imagine Wade and LeBron James on the same team for the forseeable future? It almost wouldn’t be fair.

Cons: Which is a huge con. Miami would rather it obviously be on their end, and let’s face it. It’s Miami. Michael Beasley could be the next big thing. Udonis Haslem isn’t bad, and Mario Chalmers could surprise a ton of us this season. The contract situation is similar to Bosh’s. But in terms of Wade’s game, aside from injuries, I see no con whatsoever.

What would it take? A heck of a lot. Some people once considered Wade to be right there with James in terms of talent. We’re talking an expiring deal or two coupled with draft selections, while taking on an awful contract of theirs as well. Szczerbiak would be the building block, and we would likely have to add in Hickson and/or Gibson with some future picks. Essentially, the farm and the future.

Likelihood: Take the Shawn Marion likelihood and add the fact that Wade is in fact a HUGE part of Miami’s future. Unless the offer was one that they could not refuse, we would be looking at a miracle of a trade if it were pulled off. Danny Ferry would go down in history as the single best General Manager to ever be a part of the Cavaliers, and we could even consider changing our URL. In other words, it isn’t very likely – at all – but as McManamon said, if one of these superstars wants another to play along side, they’ll have to go somewhere else.

And why not that somewhere else be Cleveland?

For full disclosure, I would rank most all of these as the wishful thinking of a derranged, and possibly ill-obsessed Cavalier fan. However, you never know what can happen during a season as evidenced by the trades of Pau Gasol and Shaquille O’Neal this past year. Last season, we didn’t have the chips to pull of anything big. This year, though, is an entirely different story.

Superstar Gazing [Akron Beacon-Journal]
A Scenario That Could Keep LeBron in Ohio [The Sporting Blog]
Aligning the Superstars [Cavalier Attitude]