January in the NBA is when trade talk starts to fly around from all over the place, and as always the Cavaliers are in the middle of almost all of that talk. This year, however, is much different. Rather than looking to add the final piece that might finally push the team over the top and give the Cavs the edge in the playoffs, they are looking to tackle the trade deadline and possible trades from a different stand point. This year the Cavs will be looking to make moves that enhance the future of the team, rather than using young players, expiring contracts and draft picks to acquire players, they will be looking to add some of those things to help them moving forward. If you look at the players that are currently on the Cavs roster, there are really only 2 that stick out as players that us as fans really want to see stay, Daniel Gibson and Andy Varajao. The rest of the team might be movable, JJ Hickson has quickly fallen out of favor with the head coach Byron Scott. Mo Williams has said many times he wants to stay in Cleveland, but if a team is willing to give up draft picks or young players for him he is a piece the team will be willing to part with. Atawn Jamison and Anthony Parker are two players I think the team should really try to move, Parker would have to be an add-on to any trade involving Jamison, Williams or anyone else because he has just been BAD this year. Antawn Jamison is the name that draws the most interest and he is playing better than the rest of the team at this point in time. If Jamison were to be moved, I am not sure what the Cavs would be able to get for the aging Forward, but he could come in handy for a playoff bound team looking to add a scorer (sounds like why the Cavs got him last year).
That has gotten me thinking about what the Cavs should be looking to ask for, or what they might possibly be able to get. I know the first thing the team needs to do is stock pile draft picks and take advantage of the trade exception they received this summer, but with so much great young talent currently in the NBA, and so much to be added in the next few years, it is not really going to take too long for this team to get exciting again. Heck, with a smart trade or a desperate team willing to part with young guys to try and win immediately. So I took to tinkering on the ESPN Trade Machine (the only thing I permit myself to use ESPN for other than fantasy sports) and tried to figure some things out. The downfall to the trade machine is it doesn’t actually let you play with draft picks and trade exceptions or anything like that, you just get to try and make it work in the eyes of the salary cap gods. Here is one interesting one I thought up with the perpetually underachieving Golden State Warriors and the equally as bad as the Cavs Sacramento Kings.
I know the likelihood of this actually happening is about 0%, but it is fun anyway. In this fantasy land deal the Cavs would send Jamison to Golden State, the Kings would receive Monta Ellis and Dan Gadzuric from Golden State and the Cavs would reap the rewards with a +7 win differential by picking up Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings and Stephen Curry from the Warriors. Now I know the Warriors would not part with Curry and Ellis, especially not in the same trade, I was just having some fun with that one. Looking again at a move based around just Jamison, I teamed the Cavs with Oklahoma City Thunder who some have linked the Cavs with in a trade that would probably send Andy and Boobie to the Thunder for James Harden. That sounded a bit un-appealing to me but the potential upside of Harden is tantalizing. In the scenario I worked out it saw Jamison headed out to Oklahoma for the three-player bundle of Harden, expiring contract and decent 3-point shot DaeQuan Cook (who some of you might remember was pretty darn good at Ohio State) and the expiring contract of Nenad Krstic who would give the Cavs some size up front for the rest of the year.
That scenario could free up some cap space for next season, but the likelihood of that one does not seem to be high either. I then took the scenario of trading Gibson and Andy out west for Harden and the only way I could make it work was to add some beef to the trade, adding Krstic again as well as another big man, Cole Aldrich. There is a big man that I think the Cavs could use. He was a solid big man in college and has good size, is just 22, so he could eventually have a pretty big impact. The youth of Aldrich and Harden could add to the attractiveness of such a deal, and Harden’s size 6’5″ could mean that he could play at either SF or SG.
As far as Mo Williams goes, I am not sure if the Cavs will trade him or not. I am not sure if I want them to trade him or not. I think he could be a good piece for the young team in the future as a pass first point guard who could also stretch the court and push the ball. Now if the team were looking to just purge some contracts, I could see how some teams would be willing to take both Williams and Jamison. The Pacers for example, are a young team who could benefit from 2 guys capable of scoring on their own. Danny Granger carries that team essentially, and the Cavs could help them out by taking the very large expiring contracts of TJ Ford, who might not be a bad addition anyway, and the vastly overpaid Mike Dunleavy.
But for the most part it is just fun to play with the trade machine. I really have no idea what the Cavs have up their sleeves, and I’m kind of disappointed that we aren’t going to be included in the Carmelo Anthony trade. All I know is that the team will be aggressive in trying to make moves that will help them both in the future and hopefully in making them more fun to watch and more competitive this year.