July 24, 2014

Nets/Lakers/Rockets Trade May Set the Stage for Cavaliers

In what could be the first of the dominoes to fall, the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers completed a three-team trade on Tuesday evening. 

With the Cavaliers possessing a few trade chips as well as a traded player exception, this move may have helped set the landscape for any near term moves that the team may have in mind.  At 23-years old and 6-feet-6-inches tall, swingman Terrence Williams - and former Cavalier forward Joe “Beast” Smith- will reportedly net the New Jersey Nets two first-round draft picks and long-time Laker guard Sasha Vujacic. 

As there do not appear many players on the Cavaliers roster to be completely untouchable, one chip that general manager Chris Grant has in his pocket may be forward JJ Hickson.  Though Grant has recently exclaimed his happiness with JJ, and that the team likes having the “young, athletic big” in a wine and gold jersey, the player is not exactly seeing eye-to-eye with head coach Byron Scott. 

If the team were to feel that a change of scenerycould benefit both parties, Thursday night’s deal shows that despite a player having a perceivable low “present value” (Williams had been sent to the NBDL two weeks prior), youth and upside continues to command a decent price* in the NBA’s marketplace; something that Grant can use as a gauge when he makes or receives phone calls in the near future.

*It’s worth noting that Houston’s willingness to send a draft pick to New Jersey for Williams may have in fact taken them out of the hunt for New York’s Anthony Randolph, a player who was rumored to be on the move this past weekend, something that could also be seen as a potential positive for the rebuilding Cavaliers.

On October 27, we opined about how the first hurdle for the 2010-11 season would come around “mid-December.”  In fact, the exact date used was December 18th – the date in which the Cavaliers head home after a four-game road trip to host the Knicks – as Dan Gilbert would have enough time to assess where his team stood heading into the New Year.  Turns out that this date may have not been more spot on as the Cavaliers have a very good chance of heading into the 18thof December with a record of 7-19.

Also, there’s this….

Your leading scorer come seasons end will likely not ecclipse 20 points per night.  The major media outlets will cast dispersions and likely bring up Dan Gilbert’s comic sans-written tirade from the night of The Decision where he guaranteed a title before the Miami Heat.  At this point, the Heat will likely have a .700 winning percentage, Cleveland will be up in arms, and Flash Seats will be one of the fastest growing companies in the history of online business. 

Check, check, check and check.  Presently, the Cavaliers leading scorer is Mo Williams with 14.4 points per game.  Dan Gilbert was recently featured in a satirical piece penned by ESPN’s Page 2, in comic sans, of course. The Heat’s winning percentage stands at 69.2. And one quick glance at a comment section, message board or Twitter feed will show that Cleveland Cavalier fans are most certainly up in arms. 

Thankfully, the Cavaliers front office is not acting in an alarmist fashion and will continue to monitor the landscape for deals that they feel will benefit the team strategically. Despite Gilbert’s desire to emulate the 2004 Detroit Pistons, it has become evident that this team will need to focus more on the business model of the Oklahoma City Thunder who, by virtue of several years of losing basketball, acquired and successfully executed in the drafting of several lottery selections.

“It’s still a process,” said Grant earlier this week. “We’re still finding out strengths and weaknesses of our team and we’ll continue. We’re constantly evaluating it as every other team in the NBA is. As we move forward, we’ll continue to do that.”

And for better or worse, the last eight games have provided the front office with a decent gauge of what may lie ahead in terms of wins and losses for this Cavalier team.

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) 

  • Chucky Brown

    The OKC model only works when there is a “once in a generation” type of player to be drafted (see 2002 Cavs. Ask The Kings etc. about well building around consistent lottery picks works.

    Get some young NBA tested players who are not pining for the super hott ex girlfriend who left them for a millionare new beau in MIAMi asap!

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    That “once in a generation player” was taken second overall and was by no means a surefire perrenial All-Star coming out of Texas. I agree with the need to have a foundation, but Westbrook, Green, Harden and Ibaka are no slouches.

    Also, I think the Kings should be judged in about two-to-three years. Evans, Cousins and Landry is a solid base.

  • Horace

    Yeah, the OKC model is nice and all, but it’s very very difficult to replicate and by no means guarantees success. For every Lebron and Dwight, you’re going to get a dud.

    From a 7 year span from ’01-’07, here were the OTHER #1 picks:
    Bargnani
    Oden
    Bogut
    Kwame Brown
    Yao.

  • swig

    There isn’t a lot of tested young talent, and they certaintly won’t be given away as mentioned by OP, which is why JJ has value.

    Any model is going to require multiple and lucky decisions and occurrences. Building through the draft is the only legitimate “model” option that we have.

  • Lyon

    The Nets made out in that trade. We need to get busy if that’s the kind of results we can expect.

  • Max

    what happens to draft pick in years there isnt a draft? say its cancelled due to a lockout…..

  • sealedhuman

    I’m really disappointed in the way that this team has collapsed since the beginning of the season. I think we have enough talent to be a 500 basketball team, but nobody on the current roster seems to have any fire.

    I can’t wait for the Cavs to get into the trade market and build a team under Coach Scott.

  • typo

    I love randolph. would love to see them get him

  • mike

    max – i read somewhere that the draft would still occur even if there is a lockout. however, talent might opt to stay in school and skip the draft so it could be a VERY weak draft if theres a lockout.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    As I said before, anyone who played meaningful minutes with that guy in Miami needs to go. The whole team. If these guys are just going to sit around an feel sorry for themselves and remember the good old days, then they need to be traded. All of them.

    (I have no proof that the current players are doing this…but it sure looks like it.)

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

    Honestly, I don’t even know what to think about this team anymore. Certain guys, like Boobie Gibson, seem to play with heart. Other guys, like JJ Hickson, seem to disappear when pushed.

  • mgbode

    the OKC-model works even if you don’t get a ‘Durant’
    just call it the Portland-model instead if it makes you feel better.

    acquiring as many 1st round picks and having a FO who can hit more often than miss is extremely important. hopefully we have such a FO (hard to tell since it just changed and we haven’t picked higher than #19 in a long time).

  • Omar’s Magic Glove

    It looks like the Nets are serious about trading for Carmelo Anthony. Two different first round picks in a trade for nothing really. My hat’s off to the Nets on the trades. As for the Cavs, I have no idea which “team building model” works best. If I choose, it would be to follow either Spurs, Lakers, Bulls, or Celtics model because they are the only winners in the NBA for nearly three decades. I just hope the Cavs will make some smart trades and find some pieces to right the ship sooner rather than later.

  • Chris

    JJ Hickson is inconsistent at best and has a bad attitude. We should have traded him for Amar’e Stoudemire when we had the change last season. I think that holding on to him last season was a terrible decision. This franchise needs to quit crying over LBJ and start rebuilding.

  • Joe

    I’d like to see a “watchable” team on the court now. Some will argue that you tank now, in order to get higher draft picks to build upon. The problem with tanking now and putting an unwatchable team on the court is that it will really turn off the fans, especially after that letter from the owner.

    Some fans would prefer that we tank now so we get better draft picks, rather than playing just good enough to be mediocre, and getting mid-round draft picks that keep us mediocre.

    I’d rather the team find some balance. You get the young talent for the future, but also bring in some vets to help them along. We just need to be careful to not sign vets that are too old or too expensive.

    I would hate to get rid of JJ, because he is a young talented player that should be able to do what coach Scott wants. There are some veteran players that I would like to purge. First would be Parker. Nothing against the guy, but he doesn’t help the teams future, and really doesn’t help them much now. Parker’s defense is hurting the team and his PER at the position is awful. It would be great to get Melo to fill the spot, but since that’s not happening, maybe Iguodala could really help the team.

    The next player I would look to move would be AV. I know this would shock most fans, but the problem with Andy is that he is a luxury we can’t afford. Sure, he is a great energy guy, but he is not a true Center. With JJ and Powe, we don’t really need him at PF, and his scoring is too weak. A couple years down the road, when this team might be ready to competed, Andy will likely be too old to provide the energy level we have come to expect and would need. If we can get the right deal, we should trade him now, while he still has value. I would like to see us get someone like Mark Gasol, a young center with potential.

    The team may also have to take some risks. Maybe go after a guy like Greg Oden. Other teams might want to stay far away from him because of his injury history. You have to remember that Z had injury problems in his first few years too. I think Oden would be worth the risk, at the right price.

    We have too many PG’s and need some help at SF. Gibson and Mo are both good 3 point shooters and without MeBron on the team, their production has gone up. Perhaps some team looking for some 3 point help would be willing to trade one of them for either a draft pick or provide us with some help at SF. I’d hate to see Mo go, but because of his age, he would be the better player to move.

    If we could have PG=Gibson/Sessions, SG=Iguodala/Harris, SF=??/Graham, PF=JJ/Powe, C=Gasol/Hollins, that would be a watchable team and young enough to build upon.