The Cavaliers’ Free Agency Primer

Baron Davis, Cavalier?  Not Quite.Please note, this article contains content written by both Scott and Rock, with the first half of the story being penned by Scott and the second half by Rock.

As we continue to debate the ever-impressive LeBron going East argument, the list of players that could be leaving their current teams now (as opposed to 2010) has grown considerably over the last 24 hours.

While Baron Davis turned down his $17.8 million offer, the Clippers have also been put on notice for forwards Corey Maggette ($8.4mm) and Elton Brand ($16.4mm).

We all know that Gilbert Arenas opted out of his contract with the Washington Wizards – but there had been speculation that he would be re-signing. He’s been rumored to be willing to accept less-than-max money from the Wizards, assuming the front office were to reallocate his would-be funds to bring in more talent. ‘

Josh Smith, Beno Udrih and James Posey are just a few of the other names you’ll likely hear about over the next few days. But which players could the Cavaliers offer a contract to?

Zero. None of them. Yes, it would be great to be able to offer a deal to Baron Davis. A point guard that plays defense, can score, and dishes the ball with the best of them. Brand? Sure! He’d solve all of our frontcourt issues in one fell swoop.

But we have next to zero dollars to offer. Recall Rock’s piece (a popular guy, eh?) from a few weeks ago that laid all of this out? Our only hope would be sign-and-trades with a team that would be willing to take on some expiring deals, and a lot of hair. Maybe even the ocassional draft selection.

Besides, it would appear that all of the names above may already be spoken for. Gilbert to Golden State? Baron Davis to the Clippers? Smith to Philly?

Until the ink dries, this is all pure speculation. But as a Cavs fan, I would advise you to not hold your breath or pre-order your “DAVIS #5” jersey any time soon.

So what options does this leave with Danny Ferry moving forward? Not many, unfortunately. The Cavaliers best (and only) option for getting better remains via trade. One problem with that, though, is that suddenly with Baron Davis opting out, the trade market is awfully vacant.

Initially, the Cavs’ best trade partner appeared to be Milwaukee. However, with the trade bringing in Richard Jefferson, the Bucks appear to be more interested in trying to win now. With that trade, it seems highly unlikely that the Bucks would be looking to move Redd in exchange for expiring contracts. It’s possible they could still move Redd if they were high on Daniel Gibson and sought to bring him back in a trade. Gibson’s ability to play at the 1 or the 2 position could benefit New Jersey if Joe Alexander turns out to be the type of player they think he can, as Gibson could move into a rotation with Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Alexander. But until they know what they have in Alexander, I wouldn’t have my hopes up too high on Milwaukee moving Redd. Possibly once we get closer to the trade deadline and Milwaukee has a better idea of what kind of team they have something could happen, but until then, it seems like a long shot.

There aren’t many other names out there being tossed around in trade talks. Maybe a guy like Kirk Hinrich could be available, but is that really going to be the answer to Cleveland’s prayers, and would the Cavs and Bulls even be interested in trading within the division again? Doesn’t seem likely.

The trouble is, things aren’t going to get any easier for Danny Ferry any time soon. One option would be to just let all the contracts expire this year, and then go after a free agent next year. Next year’s unrestricted free agent pool will include Kobe Bryant (although he has a 2-year player option I would assume he’ll pick up), Devin Harris, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry (player option), Quentin Richardson (player option), Jerome James (player option), Andre Miller, Drew Gooden, Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, Mike Bibby, Shawn Marion (if he doesn’t reach an extension before then), Jason Kidd, Smush Parker, Bobby Jackson, Steve Francis, Damon Stoudemire, Jannero Pargo, Jacque Vaughn, Allen Iverson, Eduardo Najera, Jason Collins, Ryan Gomes, Chris Wilcox, Carlos Boozer (player option), Mehmet Okur (player option), and Lamar Odom. Is the guy the Cavaliers need in that pool of players, and if so, are the Cavs sure that player would want to sign with Cleveland? Will anyone want to sign with Cleveland in 2009 anyway with the threat of LeBron leaving them behind in 2010?

The sign-and-trade option this year is interesting. You’re hearing rumors that the Clippers have offered Baron Davis a 5-year, $60 million deal. Do the Cavaliers want to offer more than that? If so, can they convince the Warriors, or anyone, for that matter, to take back Wally Szczerbiak? Why would anyone want to do that? What can the Cavaliers throw in to the deal to make the sign-and-trade more enticing? A first round draft pick is unlikely to do the trick. Would a package of Daniel Gibson (signed at approx $5.5 million), Sasha Pavlovic, and Eric Snow’s expiring contract be enough to entice a team? It’s really hard to say.

Who knows what’s going to happen in the next 30 days, the next 3 months, the next year? The one thing that seems evident is that Danny Ferry is running out of options fast, and our worst fear of heading into next season with the exact same roster is becoming more and more likely. We could be in for another long, silent offseason.

  • Michael

    I will be very unhappy if our supposed savior Danny Ferry who came in and blew all the money that Paxson had built up on the likes of Larry Hughes, Donyell Marhsall, and Damon Jones blows this offseason by not signing or making a trade of some sort. He needs to at least show that he is willing to wheel and deal, to do whatever it takes to keep Mr. James happy. Hopefully he can pull the rabbitt out of the hat sooner than later….

  • Gabriel

    and the end of this article terrifies me beyond belief. i’m not asking for the deal of the century, but at the very least, cut off some of the dead weight somehow (Wally, Snow, and both DJs). I have absolutely no knowledge of how NBA contracts work, but i am convinced after last years at the buzzer trade that anything is possible. granted the trade ended up being a bust overall (although i’ve liked West and Smith and at times Wallace), but at least that trade showed how complicated trades can be while still ACTUALLY happening. and everyone keeps saying that we need a robin to the batman or whatever, and i won’t argue that such a thing would be great. however, i also think that if you can surround Lebron with a supporting cast that is at least consistent then we could do something. i don’t mean consistent like keeping the same people around. i mean new people who aren’t necessarily marquee players, but who can contribute on a fairly regular basis barring injury. just get us some players that actually look like they play in the NBA.

  • Scott

    Just a thought (and one that could likely be thrown into the “Crazy Cleveland Conspiracy” hat), but what are the odds that teams decide to trade with us only if the offer is heavily slanted towards them? Think about it… We have the most prized piece in the league; one that will be leaving (per the media) in two years if we do not build a better supporting cast. Any team that trades us better pieces for now lessens the chance of them being in the LBJ pool come 2010…

    Kind of like not trading with the guy who’s in first place in your fantasy league. Is this making any sense?

  • RockKing

    You know, it’s funny Scott, but I’ve wondered the same thing. I am NOT saying that I think anything funny is going on, but I have wondered to myself in the past why it is Ferry always tries to get in on trades and nobody will ever trade with him, but then everyone will let themselves get fleeced to trade with other teams.

    In some cases, like Kidd and Garnett, it’s clear why the Cavs weren’t able to get a deal done. But after the Grizzlies gave away Gasol, the Cavs tried to get Mike Miller and were told not to bother, that he was part of their “long term plans”. Yeah, then they turned around and just traded him on draft night this year. I guarantee you Ferry was more than a little miffed about that one.

  • Scott


  • cbus

    I think we would all love Davis or Brand, but your right we have no cap space until next year and I think the only real option out there for a sign and trade is Magette, especailly if the Clips sign Davis. We would be able to give them Wally and a pick and then they would have room fall off next year if they decided to keep Brand to go along with Davis, other than that I don’t really know what we would be able to do. But that seems like the most realistic option right now becuase it seems from alot of the stuff I’ve been reading the Clippers if they don’t get Davis are going to after Beno from the Kings. I think J.R. Smith is a possibility, don’t know how that would work out with the rest of our roster

  • Ricky

    That makes sense to me Scott, although I think that would only be Eastern Conference teams thinking along those lines as opposed to Western Conference teams. Lets say the Bucks never got Richard Jefferson; why would they want to trade Michael Redd to the Cavs? That would make the Cavs an elite team for the foreseeable future, but the Bucks would still want to win themselves, and trading Redd might make them better for the future, but it would make the Cavs better than what the Bucks could hope to become. Teams in the East might want to keep the Cavs talent pool right where it is

    I am not so sure I would totally blame Ferry if he can’t get something done. I know, it is his fault we are in this mess to begin with, but expiring contracts only get you so far and there is not much he can do. Not having a first round pick last year hurt (thanks, Paxson) because that first round pick could have been used as a trading tool because teams rebuilding want prospects. I think we are all guilty this offseason of getting our hopes up too high because at this point I would be shocked if the Cavs make any sort of trade; they might use their midlevel to sign a guy but who knows

    Out of those guys who could be free agents next year (besides Kobe, he will pick up that option), the only two I would want would be Marion or Boozer. It will be hard for Cleveland to compete with Miami, who would also have cap space if they don’t keep Marion. I guess I would like Devin Harris, but he probably would be resigned by NJ. The rest of those guys are either too old or not good enough to really make a difference, although if we signed Najera, Gomes, and Harris, that would be just as good to me as adding a Marion

    Considering we are way over the cap right now, how much cap room would we stand to have next year if we go into the season as we are right now?

  • Ricky

    JR Smith would be fine by me, a solid 2 to bring off the bench (or actually start, he is better than Wally). Streaky shooter, but he is better than what we have now

  • Michael

    Never even really thought about that conspiracy theory, but to be completely honest with you, I am in 100% agreement of that statement. It is either that teams are afraid to give the cavaliers another piece to the puzzle because we are this good with just LeBron, so kiss that teams chances of winning any time soon goodbye if they give the cavaliers a marquee player. Or Danny Ferry just is really bad at his job (which is totally possible). That’s why we need to win in free agency, that way players will want to come here because they know Cleveland is on the brink of doing something huge. But that comes back to Danny Ferry blowing all of his cap room a couple summers ago on Larry Hughes who was an absolute pre-madonna who sat out months with a sprained finger while he collected millions of dollars. So I really don’t see a possible clean way out of this for Danny Ferry. Especially if LeBron bolts in 2010.

  • RockKing

    It’s always interesting to me how much blame Ferry shoulders for the failures of Larry Hughes. Isn’t it mostly Larry Hughes’ fault for not playing up to his potential in Cleveland? I mean, just imagine if the Cavs got the 22/6/5 guy who was first team All-Defense the year prior for Washington. I think the Cavs have a Championship by now if Larry was that guy.

  • cbus

    I also think that if Ferry doesn’t get some thing done and they get bounced from the Playoffs before the Finals that both Brown and Ferry are gone next year.

    This summer I wouldn’t expect more than a signing or two, nothing big on the trade front. I would expect, like I said earlier, some one like J.R. Smith (like I said earlier) for two guard, possibly Telefair or Pietrius since they are unrestricted, or Maggette in a sign and trade, like I said earlier, because I don’t think the Clippers are going to resign him, but I don’t know if I would want to use an expiring deal to get him this summer with Smith and Pietrius also on the market and for much cheaper.

    I like Maggette but I think if they are going to do a trade they are going to wait until near the deadline because thats when they can trade AV with him giving them crap (vetoing) the trade. It’s also the time other teams are most receptive to expiring deals and picks. I think it’s going to be quiet for us until Jan/Feb

  • Michael

    I wouldn’t say Danny Ferry gets all the blame for Larry Hughes not living up to his potential, he had one great season in Washington and then Ferry throws an abundance of money at the guy. Wayyyyy over paid, it was a desperation move. I’m going to go ahead and say I am not a huge Mike Brown fan, and would not be opposed to getting rid of him, but it is difficult to find a good coach these days. What do you all think of him as the head coach?

  • cbus
  • Tim

    While I’m not in love with the current roster, am I alone in thinking that due to injuries (Boobie, Sasha, Sideshow, Wallace) they never really practiced together and never really found their roles?
    Maybe I’m too optimistic, but most of these pieces can be better together if they stay healty and have a chance to work with one another… Maybe.

  • Michael

    boobie getting hurt really hurt us…i think

  • Adam

    The holdouts didn’t help either. The cavs generally looked really disinterested at the beginning of the season, then the injuries started kicking in.

    If Wally finds his shot (i.e. can shoot when required by a good team, instead of at his leisure on a bad team) and everyone stays healthy there’s no reason we can’t be a very dangerous team early (until trade dead-line). We’ve shown in the past, if 2 people out of West, Gibson, Wally, Z, misc PF have a good game we can win fairly easily. The problem comes when one or none is having a good game and there is nothing in our offensive plan to get someone kick-started.

    I know we can’t expect Hickson to contribute early, but a West, Gibson, James, Hickson lineup could run with anyone if Brown let them.

  • Ricky

    The team definitely will be better now that they have a chance to go through training camp as a team and will actually be able to learn the offense. I think they will be able to get back over that 50 win plateau at a minimum, i just don’t think it will be enough to win a title

  • RockKing

    Baron Davis agrees to a 5 year, $65 million deal with the Clippers. Unreal. What a steal. Wally Szczerbiak makes more this year than Baron Davis will under this deal. Can’t believe Baron didn’t even want to hear what the Cavs had to say before agreeing to this deal.

    Well, another guy we can cross off the list. I’m starting to think the Cavs are NEVER going to be able to get another star to agree to come here.

  • Ricky

    I guess he is a budding movie director or something…i don’t know, I was willing to offer him the max, I don’t know what Ferry would have offered but it looks like he never got the chance. If the Clippers resign Elton Brand, which they will, they will be a pretty good team, but would they be as good as the Cavs with Baron and Lebron? Not even close

    I just hope we use our midlevel on someone who will be a consistent rotation guy, preferably a wing. Hell I’d like to have Devin Brown back, I still can’t think of why he didn’t play in the playoffs

  • Ricky

    Corey Maggette might be a possibility, the Clippers won’t resign him and unless Philly, GS, or Memphis offers him more than the midlevel, which may or may not happen, then he will have to settle for the midlevel and the Cavs should be right there with an offer for the 28 year old wing. Not exactly the #2 scoring option we all want but you won’t find better production for the midlevel exception

  • Scott

    @RockKing: Not that LAC would want to given the price, but wouldnt this make him easier to trade for? And didn’t he turn down $17 mill?

  • Mark Barnes

    Nice article, laying out most of the options. The best free agent option for Cleveland is Corey Maggette, who won’t cost nearly as much as Brand, Davis or Arenas.

    I say, sign Maggette, and trade Wally World to anyone interested for a future draft pick. The salaries should cancel each other out, and we get a real player at the 2 spot.

  • Scott

    For some reason, Im not as sold on Maggette. He doesn’t really play much defense. Can’t hit threes. Scoring? Sure, when he takes enough shots. Free throws? One of the better in the NBA, but I just dont know if he fits our mold very well…

  • Jay

    maybe our mold needs to change

    hell mayb it needs broken and re cast