About Those Al Jefferson Trade Rumors…

On Tuesday night, Bob Finnan of The News-Herald reported an unconfirmed rumor in which the Cleveland Cavaliers were approached by Minnesota’s David Kahn. 

The report, which has since been confirmed to WFNY by a source close to the team, states that Kahn was looking to unload a player with $42 million remaining due to him via a contract signed in 2007.  The Cavaliers, having the ability to take on a player of this financial magnitude thanks to their Traded Player Exception, considered the idea of adding the 6-foot-10-inch big man, but subsequently declined the proposal. 

At the time, the 25-year old Jefferson was viewed as a power forward who has had a bit of an injury history.  Jefferson underwent ankle surgery in 2006, an appendectomy in 2006, and endured a torn ACL and reconstructive knee surgery in 2009, playing more than 75 games just twice in his now seven-year career.  While the back-to-the-basket presence would have been a welcomed addition to a team lacking a dominant post presence, Jefferson was viewed by the team as a player who could be a complimentary piece in a “win now” environment, not one who would be the Cavaliers’ new savior.

“He’s not a player who is going to single handedly turn things around,” said the source.  “If completely healthy, [Jefferson] could produce solid stats on a bad team, but at most he would give you five or six wins.”

On the season, Jefferson is averaging 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game.  For a team that is on pace to win 23-24 games, adding five or six wins could keep the Cavaliers in the dreaded position of 10th or 11th best team in the Eastern Conference, a state of limbo which the Cavaliers are trying to avoid. 

Also, if the Cavaliers are looking to compete again within the next two-to-three seasons, a 28-year-old Jefferson with knee issues is a lot older in basketball years than one who is 25-years old.  Alas, the team was forced to weigh the long-term risks at hand coupled with the uncertainty of the next eight months.

Going forward, WFNY is told that Cavaliers GM Chris Grant will continue to keep the team’s financial flexibility.  Presently, the Traded Player Exception is one of this team’s biggest assets and using it early in its existence prior to examining where this team was heading was not something that the front office felt was in its best interest.

As stated multiple times on WFNY, it is speculated that there is a high probability the Cavaliers hold on to the Exception beyond the mid-February trade deadline.  In the meantime, there will be a lot of phone calls, rumored trade proposals and potential formal discussions that could substantially change the foundation of Cavaliers as the team does have its collective sight set on a select few potential additions.  Come draft time, Grant and his team will have a clearer view of how this team will look and what pieces will need to be added, making the Exception that much more valuable.

While the Traded Player Exception is currently burning a hole in the pockets of the collective Cavalier fan base, the team feels confident that a better option will arise down the road.  At that time, the strategy will begin to unfold and Cleveland will take the necessary steps to get the ship back on track.

Perception may be that Grant is merely sitting on his hands in Independence, Ohio, watching the Wine and Gold ship sink while other teams are making themselves better, but this could not be farther from the truth.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Lyon

    I don’t care if he only added 5-6 wins per year. He’s a hell of a lot better than what we have. And we wouldn’t have given anything for him besides the exception. Don’t know that anything better than a 25 yr old Post player is going to come along for us to use it on. I hope I’m wrong.

  • The Conductor

    Name one reason why Mark Price has had the same haircut for 27 years.

  • jimkanicki

    i really hoped to get jefferson instead of jamison last year and was kinda shocked when this latest rumor came out. mainly, i wanted to know that the cavs were at least at the table for this discussion. glad they were and glad they had a reason for passing.

    thanks so much for pursuing this. great report.

  • Vorax

    what’s this about Varejao and Boobie going to the knicks, gang?

  • Go Cavs

    Scott,
    According to a column by Mary s. Boyer, the trade exemption the Cavs had expires in July. If so, what good does it do to keep it past the deadline. I think they’ll use it if a good trade comes up and the salaries don’t match right.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “what’s this about Varejao and Boobie going to the knicks, gang?”

    Knicks are reportedly interested in two of the biggest assets on the Cavs’ roster – not really surprising. They still want to add pieces in the event that they cannot obtain Carmelo Anthony. As I wrote a few weeks back, once a deal is in place for ‘Melo, the dominoes will start to fall.

    For what it’s worth, as I tweeted twice now, the Bulls are also interested in Gibson.

    “If so, what good does it do to keep it past the deadline.”

    Because the “deadline” goes away after the season is over. Look for something around draft day if nothing comes up between now and then.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Vengeful Pat

    I’m just not too jazzed about next year’s draft, kids. I’m not convinced there’s an LBJ or Kevin Durant (i.e. sure-fire NBA star) to be had in this draft. I realize Durant was taken 2nd in his draft, but I don’t think there’s a single person who didn’t think he was going to be an incredible NBA player… you just had more people who thought Oden would be greater (although I was never in that camp). I think the Cavs would have been better off grabbing Jefferson with the exception because I think this team would have still been terrible enough to get a lottery pick.

  • mike

    supposedly the knicks have an interest in AV and boobie. i have an interest in jessica alba.

  • mgbode

    I still hold that the Twolves were looking for more than just the trade exception. Yes, that was probably a big part of it, but I think the proposal was probably closer to the actual Jefferson trade that happened (Koustas, 2 1sts, and the TPE).

    that would be Hickson, and 2 1sts gone too. if those 2 1sts end up in the top10, then that trade isn’t looking so rosy anymore.

    I don’t doubt they came to the Cavs looking to unload Jefferson, I just think it was more than the TPE.

  • Lyon

    MG…. I’m thinking it wouldn’t have taken 2 1sts. Koufas doesn’t have the potential that JJ does, so I think the asking price is lowered. But point taken. If that’s what it would’ve taken, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

  • chucky brown

    oh lord why does moe make so much f’n money? Id soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much rather see him sent packing then boobie

  • mgbode

    @Lyon – fair enough. a 1st and Hickson

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  • http://www.heyhokie.com Vengeful Pat

    @mgbode & Lyon, yeah I would have to agree with that. I’d have a hard time understanding why Minnesota would give up their best player just to get some cap space, so my previous comments are moot with the exception of everything I said about this year’s draft.

  • mgbode

    one more note: just think how much more frustrated we would be right now that we don’t have a true PG to run the pick-n-roll effectively with Jefferson :)

  • Matt S

    Playing around with ESPN’s trade machine, I thought of something. How about this trade:

    Antawn Jamison and JJ Hickson
    for
    Kenyon Martin and the Nuggets’ 2012 1st round pick.

    Works out financially. The Cavs dump their largest contract for an expiring deal. Cavs also pick up a 1st round pick that’s likely to be valuable, as the Nuggets won’t be good after Mello leaves, and this could end up being a lottery pick.

    For the Nuggets, I think they have to go “all in” on this year. They know Mello is booking it, and this is their last year to contend. Here, they upgrade their weakest position not just in the starting lineup but on the bench as well. They’d still be able to shed salary, if that’s what they want to do, after the 2011/12 season.

  • Josh Curtis

    Just a heads up, Al Jefferson is not 28 years old, he is 25. He came straight out of High School, at the age of 18 obviously. I agree with the point, however, that he is a nice complementary piece, but not a guy you can build around. He would have had minimal impact on the Cavs.

  • S-Dub

    The Nuggets potentially have Melo, K-Mart,JR Smith, and only owe Billups $3M next yr if they cut him. That’s $49M coming off the books for them, in a almost certain lockout situation. If they think they’ll be terrible then why give up a good pick to help rebuild your franchise for a guy like JJ who probably isn’t going to be great? With those deals falling off they only have $27.6M committed and counting against the cap. If the cap is $54M they’re about $26M under.

    So what I’m saying is, they aren’t taking on Jamison and JJ and giving up those valuable pieces. NEXT.

    P.S. Cavs should trade for Marcus Thorton.

  • Shamrock

    Cavaliers should unload everyone and at worst if they don’t use that exemption it’s money saved off the next seasons salaries. I hope Chris Grant learned what not to do from Danny Ferry and can make the rebuilding process much shorter then what it might possibly be otherwise. It’s Clevelands only real chance.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    @Josh Curtis, I think what Scott meant in the spot where he referenced him as a 28-year-old is in relation to the Cavs not contending for three more years. Scott noted elsewhere at least twice that Jefferson is, as you note, 25.

  • Bob O’Brien

    “(Trade discussions)…In which the Cleveland Cavaliers were approached by Minnesota’s David Kahn.”

    *Stop Reading*
    *Sh__ Eating Grin*
    *Fistpump*

    /Brainwashed by the SportsGuy