Rumors of a trade involving the Cavaliers and Warriors have been popping up…except these rumors don’t involve Baron Davis.
Tis the season for rumors in the NBA. The Finals are over, the draft pool has been finalized, and teams have had time to take stock of their needs and assets. Indeed, if you’re the type of person, like I am, who actually enjoys pouring through hundreds of pages of rumors, 90% of which don’t have an ounce of truth behind them, then this is a fun time. Yeah, it seems like a waste of energy reacting to every single rumor, but it’s fun. It’s fun to think about what might be. It’s fun to play armchair GM. It’s fun to pretend that every other GM is a moron and will surely trade you their best players for nothing, as long as you present it right. So for me, this is a holiday. Bring on the NBA Draft, baby!!
But before we get too attached to the Cavaliers’ #19 pick, we need to be aware that there’s a fair amount of speculation “out there” that Danny Ferry is putting out feelers on what he can do with this pick, either moving up or moving out of the 1st round altogher.
One of these said rumors involves the Golden State Warriors. When I first heard this one, I got excited because I thought it involved Baron Davis. Unfortunately, Baron Davis isn’t really in the mood for leaving the Bay Area just yet, and frankly, the Warriors aren’t really in the mood for getting rid of him, either. No, instead, the rumors involve young forward Brandan Wright. ESPN’s Chad Ford writes,
“The Cleveland Cavaliers have been talking to a number of teams about Anderson Varejao.
One possible destination for Varejao is the Golden State Warriors. According to a source familiar with the talks, the Cavs would send Varejao and the No. 19 pick to Golden State for Brandan Wright. The Warriors hold a $10 million trade exception that allows them to take back a lot more money than they send out in a trade.”
This is an interesting proposal. It makes sense. We all know the Cavaliers are going to try to trade AV at some point this year. Doing so before the draft might be the time the Cavaliers can get the most value in return. A team who takes on AV would likely want him for a whole season, so as to possible convince him to not opt out after the year, or at least to give them a good leg up in their bid to re-sign him. A trade-deadline deal could conceivably not be enough time for him to develop a good rapport with the team that trades for him. So I get where this deal makes sense from that point of view.
But what do we make of Mr. Wright? Is he worth AV and the Cavs’ first round pick? My answer is “absolutely”! Wright was the #8 overall pick in last year’s draft. In his rookie season he posted a 17.2 PER. He put up modest numbers in 9.9 minutes per game, but when you project his numbers on a per-36 basis, they jump up to 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks. Salary-wise, he’ll make $2.497 million next season and then the Cavaliers would hold team options for the 2 seasons following before he would become a RFA with a qualifying offer of $4.58 million. So talent-wise, age-wise, and salary-wise this looks great from the Cavaliers’ point of view.
So why would Golden State do this deal? That’s not quite as clear. You could say that the Warriors could then draft a big with good offensive skills (Marreese Speights or Kosta Koufos) with the #14 pick and then take an athletic wing (Brandon Rush or CDR) with the #19 pick and have those guys, along with AV wrapped up for a long time. If the Warriors wanted to go in the youth direction, it could make sense. But all of this is a bit of a stretch.
The real issue here is the source of this rumor: Chad Ford. If you want to read a long detailed explanation on where this rumor likely came from and why there’s no way the Warriors are doing this trade, read Tim Kawakami’s blog in the Mercury News. He writes,
“Let me begin by saying: All due respect to Chad and his relationship with Dan Fegan, who conveniently is the agent for both Yi and Varejao and loves starting Warriors rumors, but THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN.
Put it in ink: The Warriors do not consider Varejao, who can’t shoot, a major up-tick on the front line. He’s not a Nellie-style forward, and really, could you play him with Biedrins? No way Nellie does that.
So you’re taking back his salary, giving up your TE and your best young big man and getting back No. 19, which really doesn’t help much (if you realize that 14 is going to be a non-starter, too) … to make Fegan and Ford happy? Nope.
So how does a rumor like this get out? Or the Yi rumor? There’s a similarity…
Let me spell it out: Yi is represented by Fegan, who wants his client in a bigger market. Varejao is represented by Fegan, who feuded with the Cavaliers over his restricted free-agent deal last year.
Dan creates atmospheres for trades by talking big about the trades he can swing for his clients. He basically invented the “Warriors-love-Yi” draft craze last summer, which I talked about with amazement at the time, since I was sure the Warriors were never as ga-ga over Yi as, for instance, they are now over Kevin Love (who they won’t get).
This is just Dan Fegan Agenting 101–talk up a scenario in the hope it happens or just creates buzz about his player and maybe causes disruption in several organizations. It’s fair game. It doesn’t always work, especially if you can pinpoint his whisperings and motivations.
Dan talks to Ford, clearly. A lot. He likes goosing up interest in his players and he likes his players to get to the Warriors (Troy Murphy, Richardson, Arenas, for a while Barnes). He doesn’t like Wright, because Wright’s arrival screwed him in two ways–sent Richardson to Charlotte and blocked a path for other Fegan clients to take a forward spot with the Warriors.”
Well alrighty, then. That pretty much explains it. I’m not so sure about that whole “Fegan wants his clients in a big market, like…….Golden State” argument (I bet agents want their clients on national TV….the Cavaliers had 31 nationally televised games last season compared to the Warrior’s 20), but his point regarding Dan Fegan and Chad Ford’s actions is spot on. Look, we know first hand all about Dan Fegan’s methodology and his crazy claims and actions. Fegan put this team through hell last year in the Varejao holdout and he was never able to come close to getting AV what he said he could. Fegan shot and missed. And all along the way last off-season, Fegan was using Chad Ford as his mouthpiece. Now, it appears he’s doing it again. Not that we should be surprised.
The point here is this: just don’t be fooled by this rumor. It smells and sounds like nothing at all. But that doesn’t mean we should discount all rumors the same. For example, DraftExpress is saying the Cavs are looking to move up in the draft, writing,
“Other picks that we’re hearing rumors about include #6 (New York, trying to move up, or back), #19 (Cleveland, possibly to move up and take Brandon Rush), and #29 (Detroit, who supposedly isn’t enamored by anyone in this area). Two teams that are reportedly looking to acquire an additional first round pick are the Spurs (who unfortunately have very little to offer) and the Suns. The Wizards wouldn’t mind moving out if someone would offer them a good deal involving a point guard, but at this point that doesn’t seem likely to happen. Cleveland is trying to buy their way into the mid-first round, but unlike in years past, it won’t be Phoenix that is selling.”
If Portland doesn’t take Rush at #13, is it possible the Cavs would try to move AV to Golden State in a deal that would bring the #14 pick back to Cleveland so they could take Rush? Sure, it’s possible. That kind of a deal would certainly make more sense than the one Ford is talking about. So as much fun as it is to think about all these rumors (well, for some of us, anyway), please always remember to take the source of the rumors into consideration and it will significantly improve your level of BS-detection.