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.