So it seems trade talk season is starting up. Brian Windhorst teased us a few days ago via his twitter account, and Brendan followed up with the news that our options appear to be three-fold: Rumored to be targets are Anthony Randolph of the Warriors, Antawn Jamison of the Wizards and Troy Murphy of the Pacers. We’ve certainly heard Jamison’s name before, as the Cavs kicked the tires on that option last season.
Randolph is in his second year. He averages 11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks in just under 23 minutes per game. His PER is 17.82. (For those looking to compare, Hickson averages 7.4 points, 3.8 boards, 0.4 blocks in 19 minutes a contest. His PER is 13.7.) Here is a piece of Hollinger’s comments on Randolph’s play:
Randolph is a rail-thin 6-foot-11 with tremendously long arms. He’s quick off the floor and that makes him an elite shot-blocker who may lead the league in that category at some point. Moreover, despite his lack of muscle, he was fearless going into the paint for blocks and rebounds.
Randolph’s fundamentals left plenty to be desired, so his D didn’t make the impact on the scoreboard that it did on observers imagining his future — the Warriors allowed more points per possession with him on the court than off it. He’ll need to learn pro defense, leave his feet less often and add some muscle to better withstand physical play inside, but the potential is clear. He has the speed to handle smaller players and the length to protect the rim, and he could be an awesome force on D if he focuses.
Offensively, he doesn’t have a clue yet. He likes to push the ball himself after rebounds but he does it very slowly and would be better off getting it to a guard and using his speed to beat his man up the floor and finish at the rim. The left-hander has a push jumper from under his chin that’s a little flat and doesn’t spin quite right, so his shot needs some work. He likes to attack off the dribble but this produces turnovers and wild finishes under duress more often than clean looks at the rim.
Those looking for an offensive minded PF might be quick to dismiss Randolph. He does have a friendly contract, and that certainly counts. The Warriors will likely want some type of talent back, as this certainly wouldn’t be a salary dump. Either the Cavs will have to swallow one of Golden State’s bad contracts or they will need to get a third team involved in this one. Randolph doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. I admit freely that I haven’t seen him play very much, but he would have to be a substantial upgrade over Hickson, and I’m not sure that he is. He certainly doesn’t stretch the defense like the Cavs are looking for. He would be an asset on defense however, and would be more than a rental.
As Brendan said, Randolph is the best option defensively, already has ”cult” following amongst NBA superfans, and posesses more upside than either of the other two options.
Antawn Jamison is the old man in this group. He’s by far the most polished offensive player in this group. He averages a hair under 21 points per game and grabs 8.5 rebounds. His PER is 19.62. He shoots the ball well (48% FG shooter this season, 32.5% from three point land) but is having a difficult year at the free throw line. He has been a bit banged up this season, but fights through it. In fact, he has missed a total of 30 games in the past 5 seasons for the Wizards. That number surprised me a bit, but I suppose it is hard to keep track of which Wizards are injured. Even with his age, Jamison might be the best defender of the screen and roll in the group, and can help guard perimeter big men like Rasheed Wallace.
The real problem with Jamison is the contract. He is due to make $13,358,905 next season, and $15,076,715 the following year. That isn’t very friendly to signing additional free agents. The other problem might be a reluctance on Washington’s part to trade him.
That brings us to Troy Murphy. ESPN’s Chad Ford said Murphy makes the most sense for the Cavs-
Jamison has the biggest immediate impact, but he’s also 33 years old. Murphy is the middle ground. He’s younger, has a better contract than Jamison and can rebound and really stretch the defense. Most realistically, I see them landing Murphy. Given Indy’s woes right now, I think that an expiring contract for Murph might hit the spot.
Let’s hold on a minute. Murphy may be a good three-point shooter, and his 6’11″ frame can usually get a shot over smaller forwards, but is his defensive liabilities worth taking on his deal for next year? Maybe.
Murphy isn’t the answer to the screen and roll problem. He also isn’t going to help in transition defense with his not-so-fleet-of-foot physique. (No, he’s not fat, but he isn’t fast either.) He will rebound, and he can shoot from outside the paint. I guess you could look at him as a slightly (emphasis on slightly) faster and younger Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Yes, having a younger Ilgauskas sounds appealing, but I ask you to look at the big picture and think about this – is Troy Murphy the piece that puts us over the Magic/Celtics/Hawks/Lakers? I’m not so sure.