Friday, June 15, 2007

A Few Free Agency Targets

With the season now over, I thought I'd take a look at ESPN.com's list of free agents and see who caught my eye.

1.) Mike Bibby

We need a point. Badly. Bibby isn't great on defense, but we've played good defense this year even with some poor defenders on the floor (Damon Jones). Bibby's a smart, savvy point guard who got back in shape this year and played some good minutes. He's got a solid midrange game (something we sorely need) and would allow LeBron to play more from the elbow and low block. We'd have to do some sort of sign and trade (maybe a package of Sasha and Drew Gooden for Bibby? Or maybe Varejao, though I hate giving up his energy) but it really might be worth it.

2.) Jason Kapono

Yeah, I know we drafted this guy and he was largely a bust in Cleveland. But he's finally blossomed into the player we thought we were drafting--a lights-out three point shooter (51 percent for the season). Last night's game exposed how sorely we need a perimeter shooter. LeBron kept kicking the ball out after the defense collapsed and Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones collectively missed about five wide-open threes that would have kept the Cavs and the crowd in the game. Kapono can't do much besides shoot the three, but he wouldn't have to with LeBron around. And maybe Mike Brown could get him to play D--he got Sasha to, after all.

3.) Theo Papaloukas

See this post for more on this guy, but I think he could be a great Manu Ginobli-type vitalizer off the bench. He's not a great shooter, but we wouldn't have to give any players up to get him. Can't say that about any other good PG on the market. The combo of him and Kapono could be a very attractive one for the Cavs--solves their need for a playmaker and their need for a solid shooter--and might be a better use of their money than making a big run at Bibby.

4.) A Shooting Coach

While this wouldn't affect the cap, it is in some ways our most important offseason acquisition. Given that we can't move Marshall or Jones, we need to find a way to get them back on track. At one point they were good shooters--they've become really poor ones this year. Pavlovic could also use some refinement in his shot--not to mention LeBron. Honestly, one or two weeks with a good shooting coach would work wonders. Tony Parker put in some good time with one after his first NBA Finals appearance and became the Finals MVP this year. You'd hope that LeBron and Pavlovic, at the very least, would follow in his footsteps.

There's also the question about whether or not we re-sign Sasha and Varejao, given that we will have the opportunity to match whatever teams offer. It's a tough call. I still think Pavlovic can be a great offensive weapon, but he's too inconsistent right now. He faded big-time last night when we needed someone out there to make shots, and he's really struggled to finish the ball at the rim this postseason. If he can commit in the offseason to becoming a better three-point shooter and learning to finish the ball, I definitely think we should re-sign him. I'm pretty sure he'll do what it takes to improve--he became a much better defender this year when he realized that doing so would get him playing time, so maybe he can make similar improvements on offense.

Varejao is also tricky. He's a great energy guy and fan favorite. He's a solid defender and bothered Tim Duncan for some parts of the game last night. But his offensive game is not that great, and he doesn't yet have a very high basketball IQ. Still, he's young and talented, and I think worth matching offers for if the price is right. I'd like to see him spend the offseason working on some sort of a post game (he's got decent foot speed and wants to be an offensive option, but he'll need to work to get there.) That said, the guy just completed his third season in the NBA and has a long career in front of him.

My only worry about re-signing Pavlovic and Varejao is that it essentially keeps the same team together. That is great for the younger guys (Pavlovic, Varejao, Gibson, LeBron, even Shannon Brown maybe) who need to learn to play together. But we're still stuck with several overpriced veterans (Marshall, Jones, Ilgauskas, Hughes) with no real hope of moving them. In an ideal world, you could unload one or all of them and really build around that young core. But since they've got such bad contracts (and aren't really that good), the Cavs have to make some tough decisions about younger players with much more upside.

It's also worth throwing out a name familiar to Cavs fans: Andre Miller. Used to be my favorite player pre-LeBron. He was available at the all-star break and is an excellent point guard. Not sure what it would take to get him, but it's worth considering.

5 comments:

Joseph said...

Dude,

you are on it this morning! And you read my mind! A shooting coach is exactly what the CAVS need. There's no excuse for brick after brick the Cavs put up. I mean the open shots they miss aren't even close. LeBron needs refinement here too. He shoots his free throws differently everytime.

I'm think Mark Price.

Lamacq said...

Hey man,

Terrific blog; I just found it the other day and am already a loyal reader. I am definitely an Indians fan first and foremost (then Cavs, and then Browns) and I get the sense that you're more of a Cavs/Browns fan, but that's cool.

RE: this offseason, Ferry definitely has his work cut out for him -- this list of contracts is almost too depressing for words. Hughes's contract is gigantic albatross, yes, but what's really kills us I think is the 2 more years we owe to Snow, Marshall, and Jones. I've been a big defender of Eric Snow and I still think he's got a lot to offer this team, but Marshall and Jones are completely worthless and everybody around the league knows it.

As much as I hate to lose Andy, I think that a sign and trade with him, in which we include at least one of Jones, Marshall, and/or Hughes and take back an expiring contract is the only way to give us the flexibility to trade for the pieces we need. Even that though, while giving us the chance to improve the roster for 2008-09, would probably make us worse next year. Ugh.

I like Danny Ferry, but I'm not real optimistic that he'll be able to improve this roster in the offseason.

Joseph said...

If we're playing with Dan Gilbert's $$$, let's get the best shooting coach out there. If Mark Price wants to come in a show the guys a few pointers, I think that'd also be a good move both basketball wise and for PR. His advice couldn't hurt on free throws.

It's going to be an interesting off season, like everyone's saying. What about Steve Blake, Mo Williams, or Earl Boykins?

Scott said...

Well let's see... our offense blows and we missed a tremendous amount of open shots so you suggest hiring a shooting coach. I can get behind that. Does that logic extrapolate to also hiring a Third Quarter Coach?

Scott said...

Joseph,I don't know how you're able to read my mind on involving Mark Price... perhaps it's just because we all retreat to Mark Price in times of uncertainty. I don't want him for a shooting coach though; I'd like to see him bring the ball down as our new Jake Taylor-esque point guard. It'll be just like Major League except instead of Mexico, we'll be bringing him up from Australia.