As the NBA trade deadline is just over 48 hours away, sources close to WFNY indicate that the most likely scenario will be Chris Grant and the Cleveland Cavaliers remaining as currently constructed for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.
The 10-46 Cavaliers have long been rumored to be shopping several players while receiving phone calls about others, but sources says that the front office is not currently looking for late draft picks, and what teams are currently offering the Cavs does not match up with what the Wine and Gold are asking for in return. Much of the potential stalemate revolves around the pending expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the rest hinges on the fact that the team is fairly confident that it could purchase late first- or second-round draft selections if needed.
Shooting guard Anthony Parker (14.5 USG, 11.01 PER) has long been named within the rumor mill as a player who could be finishing his season elsewhere. With an expiring contract and 35-years of age, Parker is widely considered to not be a part of the Cavaliers’ future. However, given the teams stance that they will not merely make a trade for the sake of such, other teams are now looking in other directions to suit their short-term needs.
The Chicago Bulls have been one team frequently linked to the Cavs with regard to Parker, but have become very unwilling to part with any players to fill their need of a three-point threat. The Bulls have also been linked to players like Denver’s JR Smith (19.6 USG, 15.38 PER) and Houston’s Courtney Lee (16.9 USG, 12.77 PER) – both players who would likely command more than Parker in the open market – but Chicago’s front office has been (at least to this point) unwilling to part with any young players in these instances as well.
The Boston Celtics, looking to fine tune any potentially weak areas following the injuries to Delonte West and Marquis Daniels, are also in the market for a wing players. Given the Cavaliers’ stance mentioned above, the Celtics appear more willing to deal with the abovementioned Rockets for small forward Shane Battier (12.0 USG, 12.89 PER). Like Parker, Battier is a veteran wing with an expiring deal and a penchant for draining the long ball. Unlike Parker, Battier is a solid defender and may not command a young, considerable-upside player in return.
Other Cavaliers like Antawn Jamison (23.1 USG, 16.44 PER), Anderson Varejao (12.2 USG, 15.15 PER) and Ramon Sessions (22.03 USG, 19.06 PER)have all garnered various levels of interest through the league. With regard to Jamison, the team’s value of the veteran forward has been well-documented throughout WFNY. The other issue, aside from the uncertainty surrounding the CBA, is the inability of other teams to acquire Jamison by including salaries within the league’s matching criteria. Other franchises have hopes that the Cavaliers would buy out Jamison who has one year and approximately $15 million remaining on his current contract. However, the Cavs have indicated that a buyout is not being considered as they feel his expiring deal will be a highly coveted asset come next season.
Sessions’ latest bout of play has understandably increased his exposure througout the league, but the Cavaliers view the recently-acquired guard as a piece for the future. Sources indicate that all talks regarding Sessions have been one-sided and they are merely other teams inquiring about the Cavs leader in PER. While there are hopes that Sessions could provide the team with a solid offensive contribution off of the bench going forward, he has more than shown his ability to play the starting point guard role if needed. Given Byron Scott’s work with point guards in the past, a team would have to overwhelm Chris Grant if the 24-year old Sessions would be moved.
And while he recovers from his surgically repaired tendon in his right foot, Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao will likely garner considerable interest in this off-season. The feelings of his representation have been documented and other contending teams continue to long for an active big man to compliment their current crop of players. Varejao would have to pass a physical to be traded, so expect a long lull that will pick up come this offseason.
While things could change given the recent trade of Denver’s Carmelo Anthony to New York, sources infer that the Cavaliers’ asking price for Parker will ultimately leave the Cavs utlizing the upcoming offseason to begin the rebuilding process when players like Varejao and Jamison become more intriguing to other teams.
Chief among offseason assets will be the team’s $14 million traded player exception. While teams like the Charlotte Bobcats and New Jersey Nets have been rumored to be entertaining the idea of sending a player and a draft pick to Cleveland in exchange for cap relief, the exception’s value will likely become clearer as the league heads closer to the draft. The current CBA issues have all but rendered the TPE a massive risk as league executives are rife with uncertainty.
Presently, there is a growing feeling throughout the league that the Charlotte Bobcats would in fact include a draft pick if a team would be willing to take either Gerald Wallace (18.5 USG, 14.89 PER) or Stephen Jackson (25.1 USG, 15.04 PER) off of their books. While this is an avenue which the Cavaliers have been down before, it appears that they are not one of the two teams currently in the mix for either of the players in question.
As with most things that have happened to the Cavaliers this season, it is merely unfortunate timing that the CBA issues have effected the value of an exception that would have had other teams pounding down Chris Grant’s door. The team continues to hold out for most value, and is using past TPE-based deals as a benchmark for value and will not be deterred by the current landscape.
While it is understandable that fans of the Wine and Gold will not be very happy if their 10-win team makes nary a deal leading up to 3pm on Thursday (despite having three expiring contracts), the chance of this happening is becoming more of a reality with each passing hour.