Could Cavs Land Antawn Jamison for Wally Szczerbiak?

AP Photo

AP Photo

The trade deadline is coming this Thursday if you didn’t know.  The Cavs’ activity level this week still remains to be seen.  They are still claiming to be satisfied with the current roster.  At the same time, I don’t really think that Danny Ferry’s phone bill is going to be reasonable this month.  I am sure he has talked to pretty much every team in the league who is even remotely interested in swapping players.  So, now that the Amar’e Stoudemire talks have become kind of old, ESPN is firing up the Antawn Jamison to Cleveland rumor again.

In Chad Ford’s mind, the Cavs should do it because Jamison clearly improves the Cavs’ chances this season.  The Wiz should take on Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring deal because nobody has paid more money for a loser since the Cavs signed Larry Hughes to a five-year $70 million contract.  But I don’t think that tells the whole story.

If you are a Wizards fan, you are basically resigning yourself to the fact that you are getting nothing back for a talented player like Antawn Jamison.  You are packing it in for the long, tall order of rebuilding.  Now, many would argue that that is exactly what Washington needs to do because even once Gilbert Arenas gets back, the team will not be a championship contender.  Then again, I am sure a lot of fans aren’t ready for that level of white flag waving.

For Cavs fans it seems like a no-brainer.  Antawn Jamison gives the Cavaliers’ two-headed monster of Lebron James and Mo Williams a third head.  Jamison instantly takes the Cavs’ up a level.  Imagine.  Today the Cavs manage their rotations so that Mo and Lebron are never off the floor at the same time, unless it is garbage picking time at the end of a game.  Now, imagine if you had a three-man rotation where no two of the three are off the court at any one time.  So that means you have some two-man permutation of Lebron, Mo, and Antawn on the court at all times.  Seems like pure genius, right?

Just wait until years three and four of Jamison’s deal kick in.  The Cavs will be living and dying with Jamison’s ability to play just beyond his mid 30s.  He is 32 years old today.  Are you confident as a Cavs fan that he will be able to contribute at a high level into the future?  Even if the Cavs got Jamison, won a championship this season what about the year after?  If the Cavs take a step back next year as Jamison ages, how will Lebron view his future with the organization then?

I know there is risk in any trade scenario in the NBA.  Still, it is an interesting question as the deadline approaches.  What is the pulse of all you Cavs fans out there?  Would you risk the future for a chance to win a championship this year with Antawn Jamison?  For my money, I say go for it.  Worry about making the team better later.  Next year, the Cavs will have another expiring contract to trade in Ben Wallace if need be.  Trust in Danny Ferry.  I call him The Wizard of Hughes because he was able to trade Larry last year.  I will continue to trust him now including the acquisition of Antawn Jamison if Washington decides to bite that deadly rebuilding bullet.

  • RandyOSU

    NO-we don’t need Jamison’s rediculous multi-year contract, which will impede the Cavs chances at future cap space maneuvering. Jamison is little more than a tall jump shooter-he’s long past his post up days and only getting both longer in the tooth and more comfortable playing away from the basket. I’d prefer to keep Wally to shoot jumpers knowing we’ll have all that cap space to work with.

    Use Wally’s expiring contract and/or relief when he comes off the books next year for a stud low post player. Jamison is NOT that player, and his contract gets uglier by the year.

  • RandyOSU

    Washington would do this in a nanosecond to rid themselves of that albatross of a contract. Let’s not take on someone else’s problem.

  • brad in atl

    Hell no. The last thing they need is to get older with a huge contract. Ask the Miami Heat how they feel about this. They did the same thing with a bunch of vets surrounding Wade and were one and done contending for a championship. Camby or nothing, his contract is over in 2010.

  • Chris M

    No thank you on Jamison, but a deal for Caron Butler would definitely have my ear.

  • RockKing

    @Randy: Use Wally’s expiring contract and/or relief when he comes off the books next year for a stud low post player.

    It doesn’t work like that. Even after Wally’s contract comes off the books, the Cavaliers will still be over the cap and thus will only have their MLE to use to sign anyone this offseason. The Cavs last chance of improving in any real way before 2010 is trading Wally’s expiring contract.

    Jamison wouldn’t be my first option, but if it’s the Cavs’ only option, I would take it. Worry about 2010 when it gets here, but let’s try to win a Championship now while we still know for sure that LeBron is wearing wine and gold.

  • BrianRut

    Jamison has never been a guy who plays above the rim. He has a great mid range jumper, solid post game, and is in fantastic shape. His game does not rely on superior athlticism, so his productivity would not decline dramatically as he ages.

    You also have to consider that his decline has not even begun yet. His PPG this year (21.4) is higher than his career PPG (19.4). His RPG in 08-09 (9.1) is higher than his career RPG (8.0).

    It would be a shame to see Wally’s 13 million dollar expiring contract go to waste. Especially as we watch him get abused on the defensive side of the ball in the playoffs.


  • RandyOSU

    Rock-Wally’s expiring contract isn’t the only part of the equation in regards to future cap space. Big Ben comes off next year ($15M), Sasha comes off ($4M), Andy “may” come off ($6M), et al. The CAVS will have PLENTY of cap space in ensuing years………to blow if for a player of the age and caliber of Antwan Jamison makes little sense. I’m not talking about this offseason-but 2010 and beyond. Jamison will take away much if not all of that flexibility, he’s not that guy nor is he the guy who makes the difference this year (in my opinion). If I’m taking on long term cap…….it’s for a difference maker in the post (Amare, Bosh……..).

  • S-Dub

    Jamison makes us every bit as good as the Celtics and Lakers. There’s no way in hell Jamison declines to the likes of Ben Wallace, who makes 14 and 15 mill next year. If you Take Jamison at 34 and Ben at 34, ben gives you MAYBE 2 points a game and hopefully 8 boards. Jamison at 34 w/ Mo and LBJ can give you 12-14 points and at least 7 boards, while playing some pretty decent defense. Not to mention he is another guy who can hit the open shot when the D sucks in on LBJ. GET HIM IF POSSIBLE.

    From a Wiz blog: The current CBA says the maximum yearly raise that a player, who is a Qualifying Veteran Free Agent, can receive is 10.5%. Say Grunfeld gives Jamison $10 million in year one, 10.5% raises over the next three years only leaves Jamison with a $46,752,576 contract over four seasons. To get AJ just about on the dot for $50 million (assuming the max raise), the Wizards are looking at paying him $10,694,600 in Y1….with $11.817+ in Y2, $13.058+ in Y3, and $14.429+ million in the final year.

    Keep in mind those are rough estimates, but that’s wat his contract situation would be.

  • Mike

    I think the fact alone that the guy is currently the de-facto leader (in absence of “Ol’ Gil” Arenas) of the Washington Wizards is reason enough for us never to cheer for him or want him on our court.

    Just saying..

  • Jay

    I’m 60/40 on this one (to pull the trigger). I think if there’s not a better option, Jamison could be the way to go. Is his on court play, and off court demeanor, equal to, or better than Wally’s? Other than the cap-space, does it improve our team? I see pluses and minuses to this equation (like another other deal), but I think the good outweighs the bad in this instance, but not by much.

  • RockKing

    @Randy: I was only responding to what you said. You said they should use the money from Wally’s contract that comes off the books next year to sign someone else. I’m just telling you, the Cavs can’t do that.

    As for whether or not Jamison is worth it, well….his 20.44 PER is 27th in the NBA, compared to Amare’s 20.13 PER, which is 31st in the NBA. I’m not saying Jamison is better than Amare, just pointing out that to say that Jamison wouldn’t make any difference for the Cavs is beyond ridiculous.

    @S-Dub: Jamison’s contract numbers are: 2008-09:$9,923,285, 2009-10: $11,641,095, 2010-11: $13,358,905, 2011-12: $15,076,715

  • Chris

    Damn, that’s a tough call.

    He can play(now), and could be the missing piece to a finals run.
    He can score, rebound, create his own shot

    He’s a Wizard
    He’s 32 years old with 3 or 4 years left on his contract
    He’s got a huge contract for someone his age
    He wastes all of the expiring money in 2010 that Ferry has worked hard on

    I’m tempted to say yes to picking him up for Wally’s contract if there is absolutely nothing left on the table come the deadline, but I would probably STILL be more interested in standing pat and seeing what we can do with this team. It’s just… how much longer do you want to wait before Lebron starts thinking about leaving to pick up a trophy?

  • Ricky

    Post players typically have a longer shelf life than guards, so its not unrealistic to expect Jamison to perform well up until the last year of his contract, when he will be a nice expiring contract. Even in 2010, with the salary cap expected shrink and not be as high as everyone thinks it will be, it will be hard to sign a max level player with Lebron. (Also, Big Ben expires in 2010, not next year, unless 2010 is what you meant by next year). Even the Knicks are semi-scrambling to make another deal to open up more cap-space because the cap level in 2010 won’t be what everyone expects it to be. So I don’t think future cap space in 2010 a viable reason to not want to do this trade, because it probably won’t be there. Being worried about Jamison’s level of play declining is legit I suppose, although I don’t think its a certainty that it will happen

    So to get a player of Jamison’s caliber for a player of Wally’s caliber is almost a no brainer in my mind. The best way to attack LA and Boston’s defense is to utilize big man that can shoot, and thats what Jamison is. We could bring him off the bench for a scoring boost (something he has done in his career before, he is a former 6th man of the year winner), and he would still get starters minutes. Also, at times we would throw him onto the court with Mo, LBJ, Z, and West. That is a very dynamic offensive lineup out there, as everyone can shoot and LBJ and Jamison could consistently create their own shot. That team would win a title this season and next rather easily in my mind. And if he declines at the end of his contract, he still couldn’t be any worse than what Big Ben is now, and that is working out alright for us

  • Jeremy

    The big question is can he guard Garnett, Gasol/Odom, and/or Duncan?

  • http://n/a tom

    to everyone nervous about cap space:

    (as someone stated)
    we have ben (14 mil), z (11.5 mil) and pavs (~5 mil) as expiring contracts next year. next year, there is going to be an even BIGGER frenzy to clear up cap space, and those expirings will be valuable.

    now i’m fairly certain that jamison could contribute where we need it the most. but if this experiment fails, don’t we have the pieces (expiring contracts) to move him next year? i like to think of Z as untouchable, but ben? pavs? varejao (if he takes his player option)?

  • KPD

    I think it would certainly improve the team, BUT it does not address our biggest need of interior muscle to guard guys like garnett and hopefully Gasol and Odom in the Finals.

  • CJG

    You know, I am satisfied the way things are. Consider this…what year do players make sure they are playing their very best? Contract years. Wally is doing great now….no coincidence that its a contract year. Keep Wally, let him play his heart out, then sign him/someone else in the off season to a contract that keeps that precious 2010 cap space open.

  • Mark

    Would I rather have Camby, probably. But Jamison would be a great fit too. He is close to a 20-10 guy that is a match up problem for a lot of the teams we need to worry about. Bottom line is he makes us better this year and next. After that he’s dealable again. Plus if somebody can show me that he’s declining without using the words aging or older I’d be impressed.

    Also, as pointed out above, Wally’s contract is use it or loose it for the Cavs. There is only room for one streaky shooter who is a defensive liability in a title run and his name is Boobie.

    As for future concerns; we will 100% be able to offer Lebron the most bank. Therefore the best thing we can do to keep him is win now. Saying a guy like Jamison doesn’t make us better now is absurd in my opinion

  • anonymous coward


    1) If we made this trade, would we still re-sign Wally (assuming he is bought out by Washington)?

    2) How much could we afford to re-sign Wally for? I’m not sure what the cap rules are in this situation.

    I like Jamison. He’s certainly shown leadership and mature qualities — no one doubts that. I know he can shoot and rebound. I feel comfortable that Mike Brown and Co. can instill a stronger defensive mindset in him (if they can get Wally to guard a 4…sort of…they can get something out of Antawn). My biggest concern is whether or not he can create his own shot, especially in a post-up situation. I just don’t know (well, can’t REMEMBER) if he did against us in the playoffs. If anyone watches the Wizards regularly (what?), let me know.

    Basically, if Jamison can hold his own in the post (we all know he can shoot, and therefore stretch out the D, etc. etc.) then I’m in.

    By the way, I’m serious about people chiming in if they are familiar with his game. I’d like to know what he truly brings to the table. None of that “I saw him on Sportscenter and he hit 3s so I want him” or “I read that he’s old so no way” garbage.

  • RockKing

    In response to your questions, the Cavaliers still have almost all of their MLE still at their disposal. I believe the amount is in the neighborhood of $5 million, but I’m too busy with something else to look up the exact remainder at the moment. So the answer is yes, the Cavs would still be able to get Wally back IF Washington were to give him a buyout.

  • Ricky

    We could resign Wally for the Midlevel Exception, as we have most if not all of that still available. We could resign him if we wanted to, but maybe we wouldn’t need to if Sasha can come back soon. Jamison can create his own shot, for a big man he has good handles and can drive to the hoop and although he isn’t a prototypical post-up big man, it is a part of his game. He is not a very good defender however, but our system could mask some of his deficiencies

  • Chris M

    @ Anon

    1 & 2) Even if Washington bought him out, Wally couldn’t rejoin the Cavs for the playoffs. The roster deadline for the playoffs is 3/1, and there is a 30 day waiting period to resign him, so that would be a moot point.

    Earlier I was quick to shoot down the idea, but when you think about who would be better at the starting 4, I would have to say A.J. would be a huge step up over Wallace. Consider me a flip-flopper I guess.

  • RockKing

    @Chris M: That’s not really how it works. The player only has to be waived by March 1st. So as long as the Wizards would waive Wally before then, he is free to sign back with Cleveland and be on their playoff roster.

  • Chris M

    Well color me surprised, I actually spent a decent amount of my day researching this and missed that nuance. Thanks for the correction Rock.

    Assuming Washington knows this, what do you think the chances are that they waive Wally on 3/2?

  • dgriff13

    Worth a shot. Especially since I still don’t trust in Wally’s.

  • S-Dub

    JOE SMITH TRADED TO THE HORNETS. Bet he isn’t bought out.

  • Hoy

    I don’t think the Wizards would wait until 3/2 to buy out Wally. If they’re going to buy him out then they would do it as soon as possible to save some $$$ instead of paying him his contract rate (assuming they buy out his remaining contract at less than what it is worth).

    Also it would probably be determined before such a trade if Wally is coming back or not, and while that can’t be part of the deal officially it may weigh in as a factor on the side. At which point it would be a shitty move on Washington’s part to hold onto Wally. Not that it isn’t possible but that would definitely hurt the credibility of the Wizard’s management team and perhaps hinder their ability to make deals in the future.


  • Jacob Rosen

    He wouldn’t make the Cavaliers the favorite in the NBA this season, nor would he at all help out our long-term stability. I am not a fan of anything besides Stoudemire or Camby rumors.

  • IRB?

    Apparently the talks are surrious.

    [Sports Illustrated]

  • S-Dub

    This deal would put us over the top, we’d have to take Etan Thomas, but he just becomes another expiring next year.

  • DCBucks

    Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox just got sent to the Hornets for Tyson Chandler.

  • Ricky

    I bet Joe stays there, I always got the impression that he wants to play for a winner, which New Orleans is

    I don’t know how you could think that for this season he wouldn’t put us over the top. Boston would have a very hard time beating us because they don’t have depth at the PF position. I wouldn’t say it makes the Cavs a lock to win the Finals but it would make us a lock to get there and we would be much better equiped to beat the Lakers with him than without him

    I don’t really care if we get Wally back or not, because by the time he would be eligible to sign with us, Sasha would be back, and Kinsey has shown to be a better defender than Wally. Plus, maybe I’m just an optimist but I think the best of Daniel Gibson’s season is yet to come. I like Wally, but if he brings back a player like Jamison then I’m ok with it

  • bitmatt

    Jamison is exactly the sort of veteran that Ferry covets- athletic, big and versatile. Every time I watch the Wizards he impresses me. Hell, he won a few playoff games against the Cavs practically single-handedly a couple years ago when all the other good players on the Wiz were out for the season. This is a dude who has made a lot of money in this league and now wants to win. To get off that team of assclowns would mean everything to him- you would not have to worry about effort from this guy. To get him for just Wally’s deal and a draft pick would be fantastic- you have to do that. The Cavs need better depth in the front court- Ben Wallace is too much of a wild card health-wise. The added scoring potential in the paint would be tremendous. Camby would be fine, but not if it costs Delonte or Hickson (or both). The Clippers want too much. Amar’e is obviously the sexy trade, but what does that get you? A no-defense battering ram in the middle? Sure, no doubt fun to watch- but how does that guard Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom any better?

  • Ricky

    Here is some of Hollinger’s analysis on Jamison regarding his age…

    “While there’s a certain amount of risk in signing a player of his age to an expensive long-term deal, Jamison seems as reasonable a risk as anyone in this category. His game has held up very well the past few years, he never gets hurt, and his style of play would seem to age well since it’s based more on guile and polish than explosiveness”

    “In Jamison’s case, he’s been unusually impervious to Father Time thanks to a low-impact playing style and a gradual transition from small forward to power forward”

    Regarding his offensive abilities… “Jamison is unusual for a scorer in that he does much of his work without the ball and rarely has to dribble once he’s caught it. He’s an amazingly good cutter off the ball, sensing openings and sliding into them at just the right moment, and off the catch he has a quick release and is an outstanding finisher on short-range shots around the hoop”

    Who isn’t excited about that last part? The biggest complaint everyone has about the Cavs offense is that far too often it becomes 4 guys standing around watching Lebron. Well, add Jamison to that mix and you suddenly get a lot more off the ball movement, Delonte is good with this too. This would be a great asset off the bench too, because even with Mo we don’t perform as well when Lebron isn’t in the game. I know the guy at SI said the deal is far from complete since there is a lot of hesitation on the part of Washington, but man, I really hope this gets done

  • Jacob Rosen

    “I like Wally, but if he brings back a player like Jamison then I’m ok with it”

    I think that down the road, not trading Wally Szczerbiak and not being stuck with the bad contract that is Antawn Jamison, will help out the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will enable us to be more competitive in the 2010 free agent market, as Jamison’s contract for the 2010-2011 season is about $13.6 million. With only Mo, West, Gibson and JJ lined up for that season thus far, the Cavaliers could have a ton of room. Add in LeBron at about $17 million as is seen on HoopsHype and then Jamison, and the Cavaliers will already be at $49 million. That would enable us to spend only ten or so million on the rest of our future roster…

  • bitmatt

    Cavaliers need to win now, or there is no future. And the 2010 market will be very disappointing, since it is likely the next collective bargaining agreement will probably shrink max deal possibilities instead of increasing them to meet the demands of our new financial realities. Certainly the owners will not support bigger possible contracts- many can’t afford the ones they carry now. Because of this many of the star players that set themselves to become free agents in 2010 to reap possible rewards that will not happen now are likely to re-up with their own teams early to capitalize on the current CBA. This includes LeBron, and if the Cavs win now it makes it even more likely he will extend this coming summer. There is your future.

  • AMC

    While the Cavs shouldn’t do anything to completely destroy their long-term flexibility, I have faith given Ferry’s past luck in unloading bad contracts (see Hughes, Larry) that he could navigate any salary difficulties by bringing Jamieson on board.

    I think that if this deal is possible the Cavs have to pull the trigger. I mean a crunch time lineup of LeBron, Mo, Jamieson, Delonte and Z is making me drool.

  • avi

    face it people, amar’es staying in phoenix, and he can’t play D. as for camby, he’s a great player, but the clippers are asking too much for him. unfortunetly, i dont even think ferry could pull off something like that. thats why i say take jamison, cuz we all know that hes an outstanding player and could make us championship-bound! =)