Cavaliers Take Major Step In Rebuilding Process With Mo Williams Trade

Not many teams have had much sympathy for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. After a couple seasons of racking up the NBA’s best record and players dancing on the bench as the team executed blow out after blow out, teams were licking their chops this year to exact some revenge on the LeBron-less Cavaliers.

When it comes to the Los Angeles Clippers, though, they seemed to be feeling quite charitable towards our beloved Cavaliers. First, they were kind enough to give the Cavaliers the win to snap the infamous losing streak. Now, it appears they have decided to give the Cavaliers a 2011 top-10 draft pick.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise, as many of us were bracing ourselves for the Cavaliers to stand pat and not make any moves. As is often the case with the Cavaliers, though, moves come out of nowhere when you least expect them.

And so it is that the Cavaliers are set to trade Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Clippers in exchange for Baron Davis and their 2011 first-round pick, which at the moment would be the #8 pick overall based solely on current record.

Before we break down this deal, though, allow to me get sentimental first. Above all else, I am first and foremost a fan. I am a fan of the NBA. I am a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And I am a fan of Mo Williams. Mo was brought here to do a job, and although he never quite lived up to the #2 he was asked to be, perhaps it was asking too much of a player with his skill level. Regardless, the man never complained about anything and he never made excuses for his postseason shortcomings. He may not have succeeded in the playoffs, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Mo came to be one of my favorite Cavaliers of all time, not just for his play on the court, but for the person he is off the court as well. He was a major part of the most successful Cavs teams of all time, and I’ll never forget that. I wish both Mo and Jamario the absolute best and I hope they find success in LA…..starting next season.

Which leads to this trade. If you are a Cavs fan, today is a good day. We’ll see how much better or worse Baron Davis is than Mo Williams was, but to me, that part is more or less a wash. The key is the draft pick the Cavaliers acquired.

Some may scoff and point out this is a weak draft class, and sure, if there’s a lock out, the talent pool will be even worse off. Regardless, any time you have a chance to have 2 top ten picks in the draft, you have to like your position. It gives the Cavaliers options.

The skeptics and cynics may see this as the Cavaliers now having two chances to make bad picks, but in reality, the Cavaliers are looking at two chances in the lottery, two opportunities to add some much needed young talent. If the Cavaliers miss on one of the picks, you hope the other one pans out, but should they hit on both picks, then the Cavaliers took a major step in their rebuilding plan.

I’ve not yet seen if the Clippers protected the pick at all. I would think the Clippers would have asked for the pick to be protected if they win the lottery. If it’s not #1 protected, though, then the Cavaliers also have two chances now to win the Kyrie Irving lottery.

While the Cavaliers do now have 2 serviceable PGs in Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions, I don’t believe this should stop the Cavaliers from targeting Irving in this draft. Baron Davis is not going to be a part of the future of this franchise, and the Cavaliers will have some options for dealing with him. For now, should the Cavaliers be so fortunate as to get the top pick and land Kyrie Irving, they will still have another pick to address another need with young talent.

As for Baron Davis, we’ll see how this works out. Davis is on the books now for $13,900,000 next season and then has an Early Termination Option the following season. Should he not opt out, the Cavaliers would owe him $14,750,000 in the 2012-13 season, at which point he would be an enormous expiring contract that the Cavaliers could look to trade.

Should Davis become any kind of distraction or malcontent in Cleveland, the Cavaliers could always try to offer him a buyout. But if anyone is concerned about the Cavaliers using up cap flexibility on Davis, I don’t think you should be.

The Cavaliers were never going to build through free agency. The team was unable to attract free agents even with LeBron James on the team, so it would seem unlikely that they would ever make a splash with any cap space now. This team was always going to have to rebuild through the draft, and Dan Gilbert has now shown a willingness to take on large contracts and spend money in order to acquire draft picks that will lead to the future of this franchise.

And who knows, maybe Byron Scott and Baron Davis really do have a good relationship now and maybe Baron will play up to his level in Cleveland. If that should happen, then the Cavaliers will have vastly improved their offense over the next couple years.

I don’t see how this is a bad move for the Cavaliers in any way. They were never going to get more than a top 10 pick for Mo Williams, so credit to Chris Grant and crew for making this happen and getting it done. I think prior to this season, if anyone would told us the Cavaliers were going to get Baron Davis and a potential top 10 pick in the draft for Mo Williams, we would have found that hard to believe (although, it is the Clippers, so, you never know).

We’ll see if Chris Grant has anymore tricks up his sleeve today as we hit the trade deadline, but should this be the only move the Cavaliers make, then it’s hard to see this transaction as anything but a major positive for the Cavaliers and the rebuilding process.


Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • Roosevelt

    Is Kyrie Irving/ Jonas Valanciunas going to be the new Terrell Brandon/Zydrunas Ilgauskas?

  • Harv 21

    Chris Grant earns his first brownie points in my eyes. Almost impossible to imagine a better deal for Mo given the salary swap required by NBA trades. After not getting in on the big trade action earlier this week, Grant found a mark in Donald Sterling and went after him.

    Very sweet move. Good for Grant, good for the Cavs. If Grant now pulls off a competent draft we will have reason for some optimism.


    I saw this on RealGM…

    “The Cavaliers and Clippers have agreed upon a trade of Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and a first round pick in 2011 (reportedly unprotected), according to sources that spoke with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.”

    Unprotected! Woo Hoo!

  • Mark

    I agree, good move by the Cavs. If they can handle Baron at all, it becomes a great trade. The only question left to be answered is, can the Cavs close the deal and pick the right guys in the draft?

  • ben

    I agree wholeheartedly with your feelings about Mo. Mo the player never quite was what we had hopped. But Mo the person was a very solid dude, and I was happy to have him here (just not during gametime in the playoffs).

  • BB

    Good luck Mo, thanks for everything.

  • Tim K.


  • Denny

    I like Guinness on Draft.

  • Vengeful Pat

    Love Mo and sad to see him go, but happy to get an unprotected #1 from the miserable Clippers. I am not a Baron Davis fan at all… so far this season, he is shooting a whopping 41.6% from the field and 29.6% from 3-point land (awful). His only plus is a very nice assist/turnover ratio (7/2.5). I guess it depends what his mindset is when he comes to the Cavs… if he sees himself as a floor general and a playmaker, we’re in good shape. If he sees himself as the scorer and savior of this team, we’re going to be worse off. But like I said, love that we grabbed a likely top 10 draft pick.

  • Roosevelt

    Yeah, Baron will definitely be a wild-card in this whole deal. I wonder if he’ll even show up.

  • Kunal

    Good luck Mo! You’ll be missed! As for the trade I am starting to like this more and more the more I think about it, sure the draft class is a little weak but two young lottery players is still a good starting point (assuming we hit on these picks)

  • Shemp

    Scott’s marching orders are to make life miserable for Davis so Davis will opt out of his albatross of a contract (again).

  • stin4u

    @9/10 – we have 10 wins. There is really nothing to take away from this season so it doesn’t really matter who shows up and puts on Davis’s uni…with any luck they’ll be able to dump him next year for more draft picks/upside guys.

  • Vengeful Pat

    @13, I guess you are right. Assuming that the Cavs continue to suck next year (which is a pretty good assumption), they are really playing for the 2012-2013 season and Davis could easily be gone by then. I’m cool with that.

  • Roosevelt

    @ Stin4u I think he’s more likely to be like Stephon Marbury was in NY the last year or so. Not that I have a problem with that, but the math figures to like $15 Mil (and a $15 mil cap hit) for a mid-lottery pick – and maybe with a hard cap coming.

  • JM

    Good move Cavs.

  • 5haun

    The worst part of this trade is that I really would’ve liked to see Baron throw an olley oop out of a Kia to Jamario. The best part is that he can throw one to Skyenga. Oh, and that the pick is reportedly unprotected. And the beard, let’s not forget Baron’s beard.

  • CLE

    wish we could dump b. davis now

  • Scott

    “The best part is that he can throw one to Skyenga”

    Christian would totes jump over the roof. Not that weak over-the-hood nonsense.

  • Scott

    Oh, and the worst part about this trade: Anyone who thinks the Cavs need/should use the additional pick on Jimmer Fredette.


    @Scott, you’ve got it all wrong man…..the worst part about this trade is that Cleveland lost it’s Sports Twitter Champion! Oh My!

    Looking back on that competition, it’s sad that 1/2 to 3/4 of the people in the original bracket are no longer with their respective Cleveland teams….I guess there’s room for @Gator4God to improve after all!

  • Josh Stein

    If the pick were a 2nd rounder, then I say “absolutely, bring Fredette in,” as he does have a place on an NBA roster…if they use the #8ish on him, that’d be sad.

  • Roosevelt

    Am I the first to suggest that now Gilbert, who’s been a hard-line owner, might switch sides to improve his chances in the draft?

  • Harv 21

    Scott, to JJ, Skyenga and Harris: “Don’t listen to that man, don’t follow him, don’t even hang by his locker. If he sits with you, get up and go sit by Twan. Whatever he tells you to do, do the opposite. JJ- look at me, you hear me, JJ? JJ!”

  • Joe

    I like what I read earlier: JIMMER!!!

  • Tim K.

    If that pick is in the 10-12 range, you gotta go Jimmer.

  • guyritz

    Harv, that just made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

  • Robbie

    So busy I rarely get to stop by nowadays, but this makes me interested in the Cavaliers again. Two top 10 picks to try to fill two holes. Good stuff!

    Have fun dishing-up bombs to Griffin, Mo!

  • Shamrock

    Kind of ironic the Cavaliers will accumulate draft picks for a draft that is one of the weakest, or reportedly, in years. Kind of like a hometown guy taking less money to leave. At least Grant did something, I guess. I’d love to see Parker go next followed by Gibson. If you could move Jamison or even Davis. That’s in a perfect world though.

  • mgbode

    2 chances at Kyrie? I’m all-in.

    Heck. Talk Sullinger into coming out, get the top2 picks and draft Kyrie AND Sullinger. Now that’s how you rebuild (blind optimism about a June draft is acceptable in February guys)

  • Tribe Fan

    Is that first round pick going to be worth the headache of dealing with Baron Davis for 2 years? Ehhh, I dont know.

    If you thought LeBron had bad shot selection, you aint seen nothing yet (re: Baron). Sad thing is, the guy has (or at least had) all the tools to be an all time great point guard. But, he would rather jack up 9 3 pointers and hit 2, than do the dirty work, posting up, getting to the line, etc…

  • mgbode

    @shamrock – how exactly is that ironic? are you alanis morrisette today?

  • Adam

    Jimmer is going to be the next JJ reddick, only worse. It would be the worst pick ever if the cavs drafted him with anything other than a 2nd rounder

  • Gren

    One thing is for sure, the Draft Lottery just became the most watched program in Cleveland.

  • Kevin Hignett

    @mgbode – You think someone will need to talk Sullinger out of returning to Ohio State? There is no way he’s going back for another year. Lock out or no, he’s the most dominant big man in the NCAA with nothing more to prove and even with a less lucrative new CBA he’ll make more as an NBA lottery pick than as a sophomore in college.

    If I’ve learned anything about the NBA in the last year, it’s that the players don’t care about anything, trophies included, more than their own situation, which is usually about money. That attitude doesn’t start on draft day, they were like that since their first AAU season.

  • jeff p

    @29. Do you know the definition of irony?

  • Ike

    As a Duke alum (and current grad student), I don’t think the chances of Kyrie Irving leaving Duke after this season are very good. It’s certainly possible, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    As a native Clevelander and Cavs fan, I’m very happy with the moves the Cavs have made today. They absolutely took legitimate steps toward rebuilding this thing; kudos to Grant and Gilbert.

  • Stinkfist

    I hope the LA pick gets number one, since ours is guaranteed in top 4. We should have made a deal like this in 2002

  • JM

    What’s ironic is a Boston fan posting on a Cleveland site.

  • Jeff in Alaska

    Jimmer is not JJ Redick. Granted I am probably a BYU homer, I was born in Provo, my dad went there, I went to BYU Hawaii, and sister went to BYU Idaho. So maybe I am as big of a BYU homer as most here are about OSU. But I think the kid can play. He can create his own shot, and he can shoot from anywhere.

    He isn’t a number one though. He will be successful if he goes to a team with someone who is a number one and commands a double team. Then he will sit and kill them all day with wide open shots.

    Does Cleveland have one of those guys right now? Maybe if Baron is motivated. But otherwise probably not. Jimmer would be awesome in Chicago, or even Orlando, someone like that. But as a Cavs fan, I just want to see him in Cleveland and hope we find a number one guy with the first pick.

  • jermaine

    MoWet def one of my fav cavs of all times – sad to see him go but it was time and what a great job by Chris and the gang!


  • Mo Williams

    Glad to be here, and become part of the community.