Here are some thoughts as the group here at WFNY process the trade- (Note: Rock will have a full post on his thoughts at 11:00. You knew he couldn’t be contained in under 1500 words.)
Rick– When this deal resurfaced a couple weeks ago, my thought process was “is this the best we can get for Sasha and Wallace”. The Cavs have only three ways to get better this season. One is through the draft, but unless they could secure a top 8 pick, don’t expect much there. The second is with the MLE, in which they can sign a veteran even though they are over the salary cap. This player will help, but the chances of them getting better at the Center position through the MLE were pretty slim. Finally there were the tradable contracts.
I’ve been reading comments and even some journalists who are saying this trade is great because of who the Cavs gave up. That’s not the point. It’s not how much better Shaq is than Wallace and Pavlovic. It’s whether Shaq is the best we can do with those expiring deals. Personally, I still think we could have had Camby and now we know that we could have had Tyson Chandler. Yes, Chandler’s contract extends beyond 2010, but it wasn’t a max deal. There still could have been room to sign LeBron plus another free agent. So count me as a bit skeptical on this one. We absolutely have to sign Andy now, and who we get with that MLE is extremely important. We obviously need an athletic wing defender, but we are also looking really think at guard.
Dan– In a vacuum it’s not a bad trade: Shaq is an upgrade over Wallace, Pavs had all but fallen out of the rotation, and the Cavs didn’t trade any member of their “core” to get what is essentially a one-year-flyer on the Big Chamberneezzee. But, I’m asking myself, is this really where the Cavs need to improve? Yes, Howard was tough against them, but he’s tough against everyone. What cost the Cavs against Orlando was perimeter defense and a lack of ball movement on offense. Shaq certainly doesn’t improve either of those areas dramatically. I also find myself wondering if this is the best they could do with $20 million in expiring contracts… basically $20 million in a different expiring contract. But, at the end of the day, the Cavs got better and deeper in the front court, didn’t have to touch their core, and are now going to be the media darlings of the NBA.
Todd– It’s a no lose situation for Danny Ferry. In bringing in Shaquille O’Neal, the Cavs finally got the back to the basket post man and thick body who can slow down Dwight Howard that they didn’t have before. They also managed to get him for essentially nothing. Ben Wallace is finished and we’ve all seen enough of Sasha Pavlovic to know we’ve seen too much. Throw in the fact that Shaq’s deal has just one year left and you’ve got a no-brainer of a deal.
The downside is Shaq potentially clogging Lebron’s driving lanes. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. While the Cavs are a better team today, they can’t be done. An athletic wing has to be added, along with re-signing Anderson Varejao. No doubt, I like the move. I just wish it would have been done in February.
Craig– This trade seems early. That isn’t to say ultimately it wouldn’t have become the best possible option, but it seems a bit quick. I really hope that as the off-season progresses the Cavs don’t look foolish for trading Wallace so quickly. You remember how we all made fun of Boston for jumping on Mikki Moore? I hope there isn’t a trade later on this off-season that makes us conclude that Shaq was the much higher stakes version of the Mikki Moore signing.
Jacob– I can’t believe it happened. The Cavaliers acquired a 37-year-old center who used to be the greatest player in the NBA, in an effort to do exactly what? Hope he will be able to stop the 24-year-old Superman on the Magic or provide the low-post scoring we desperately need? I truly don’t think he will save either of those faults with this team, and it is a clearly a quick-fix desperation move by Danny Ferry and company. I would have loved to see the team wait, wait and wait on the expiring contracts of Wallace and Pavlovic to see if we could eventually snag a Bosh or a Chandler. This trade shows to LeBron that Danny Ferry is truly short-minded in his thinking, and if the Cavaliers do not win a championship this season this trade will look absolutely horrible. With Z and Shaq we now have the oldest front-court in the NBA, and for all that we criticize Pavlovic, at least he was younger and better defensively than the average scrub combo forward. I really do not care for this trade at all.
Denny– I think now the big question is this: Can Mike Brown become the disciplinarian that we hope he can be? He’s going to have two huge locker room presences now. He needs to be the one in charge now more than ever. Yes, LeBron is the stud here, but MB can’t defer to LeBron anymore. He needs to be in charge. If he can command this team’s respect and not seem like a LeBron puppet, that’ll be a huge first step.