Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A last post (for now) on the Cavs offseason

Reader James directs me to Brian Windhorst's blog, where he points out that the Cavs do have some assets this offseason (reportedly, 11.1 million worth in contracts.)

I had forgotten that we gave David Wesley and Scot Pollard that much money--and Damon Jones is the most tradeable of our less talented players. So we do have something there. Brian suggests later in that post that we may be able to swing those three players plus Drew Gooden to Phoenix for Shawn Marion. I do love Marion's game--he plays great defense, he's extremely athletic, he has a deceivingly good three point shot.

The question is: what does our lineup look like then? Well, we still wouldn't have a PG, though maybe we could sign Steve Blake (I too am not a big Earl Boykins fan). Or maybe we could find a way to get Mo Williams (good call, James!) Plug in one of those, or maybe Daniel Gibson/Eric Snow (again, not ideal, but we may have to put up with it), Sasha/Larry/Shannon Brown at the 2, LeBron/Marion playing the 3/4, and then Varejao (if we re-sign him) and Z at the 5.

I'm still not a huge fan of this roster. Z has some skills but I don't think he's athletic enough to play with the other four players that would be on the floor. Plus, we become a really small team--aside from Z we would be pretty weak down low, especially if we lose Varejao. We could pull Z and try to run-n-gun a bit more on offense, but then we probably get beat by bigger teams on the other end (and we can only do this if we do sign Varejao or swing a big trade). The flip side is, this lineup allows us to see more of LBJ in the post (by necessity) and prepares the team for a future post-Z and Larry as an athletic, perhaps uptempo team (that still plays good defense).

My other concern is that we'd also have too many people who play the 1-3 with this roster--Snow, Pavlovic, Hughes, Brown, Gibson, Blake/Williams, LeBron, Marion. Clearly you could make the latter two into hybrid SF/PF's, but that's still a glut at the guard positions. Maybe the solution is not to resign Sasha? I like him a lot, but Brown reportedly has a lot more upside and costs less for the time being. I wish we could move Larry instead, but that will be impossible.

The other guys out there right now are Vince Carter (please), Jason Kidd (too old at 34), Rashard Lewis (would be nice, but creates similar problems to Marion in terms of having too many guys who play 1-3), Zach Randolph (interesting, but a head case--he would be a great fit down low in terms of athleticism but the Blazers don't need ANOTHER big man, which is probably all we could offer), Bibby, KG (would cripple us cap-wise), Jermaine O'Neal (interesting, but at 20 million a season? That would be roughly 50 million tied up in him, Z, and Hughes), and Gasol (haven't thought about him that much, admittedly).

So I'm worried about all the big trades the Cavs could make this year. I don't think signing a PG in the mold of Blake or even Williams is enough to significantly improve this team (though they would help significantly), but I am curious about what the team looks like in the future if we do make any of these big moves. You don't want to hamstring this team with yet another big contract, but it may be necessary to improve the team in some meaningful way. I like the Marion move most out of the potential ones I've heard thus far, but if that doesn't work out, I wonder if we sit tight to some degree and then use Snow's, Jones's, and Marshall's huge salaries and expiring contracts at the deadline next year to get a big gun who might be available? I'm a big Calderon fan--he should be available next year (he's a free agent in '08). And don't forget that Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Carlos Boozer, and Andre Miller are all free agents in '09 (though the latter two will be a bit older by then).

Basically, I'm struggling to figure out what the Cavs should do. Larry Hughes and Zydrunas make these discussions extremely difficult. One the one hand, the team needs to get much better. On the other, we can probably only afford to take on one more big contract in the next couple years (before Hughes and Z come off the books) and so we better make it count.

Now, it's time to force myself to write about something else. Tomorrow: a post on the Browns' QB controversy.

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