Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thirty minutes that changed an entire perspective

At 2:50pm today, Cavalier diehards were on the edge of their seats. Danny Ferry, General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been hailed as the guy to keep Wine and Gold dominance possible for years to come. But over the past seven months, grumbling has begun over the team's inactivity from the front office. LeBron James wants help and dammit, he's gonna get it.

So as the minutes ticked away towards the end of the trading deadline, Cavs fans were ready to heave Ferry into Lake Erie. Either he pulls off a big trade, or he risks losing Lebron James to a team with higher aspirations at the end of his contract. And that would be devastating to Cavalier fans. Yes, it would be a crushing blow......think along the lines of Ted Stepien.

Three o'clock passed, and ESPN analysts were still discussing the 3-team trade that involved Bonzi Wells leaving Houston. No word on the Cavs pulling the trigger. Blood pressures all over northeast Ohio rose. No activity would NOT please LeBron, and it would NOT please Cav fans. This was a day that must go well....or else.

At 3:20 pm, everything changed. The deal was announced.

The Cavaliers, in need of an outside shooter, a dominant force inside, and a point guard, got the trade they needed.

Ben Wallace, the dominant center, is now a Cavalier.
Wally Szcerbiak, the outside shooter, is now a Cavalier.
Delonte West, another guard with experience at point, is now a Cavalier.
Joe Smith, another forward, is now a Cavalier.

In exchange for these four players, the Cavs unloaded the following;
- Larry Hughes, whose shooting touch is coming around but at a high salary.
- Drew Gooden, the quiet performer that can match up on the boards often.
- Donyell Marshall, who can hit a three now and again, but played no defense.
- Ira Newble, an incredible guy but never much of a factor in games.
- Shannon Brown, a flop from the start but could do well with a fresh start.
- Cedric Simmons, yeah who cares?

In my eyes, this is a HUGE trade in favor of the Cavs. They got what they needed, and they dumped off a lot of baggage.

Take a look at what Cleveland can put on the court now;

Forward - All-Star LeBron James. The best player in the NBA today.
Center - All-Star Zadrunas Ilgauskas, who averages a double-double
Forward - All-Star Ben Wallace, the enforcer inside with defense written all over him. 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards in 5 seasons? Hell yes.
Guard - All-Star Wally Szcerbiak, the guy who shoots 44 freaking percent from BEHIND the 3-point stripe.

Now we can focus on putting Daniel Gibson at point guard and letting him run the show. We no longer need his shot as much as we previously did, and Boobie can focus on just one aspect....running the point.

Off the bench;
- Delonte West - West's only putting up 6.8 points per game this year, but gets 10 points per game in his career. 10 points per game from a backup guard? Yes, thank you. He also shoots over 33% from 3-point range.
- Anderson Varejao. This guy will be a nightmare for teams who SHOULD be relieved to see either Z or Big Ben sit down for rest. We should have him back in a week, with plenty of time to get used to his new team in time for the playoffs.
- Joe Smith - The guy averages 11.2 points per game! And he's backing up LeBron James! I'm in heaven!
- Sasha Pavlovic - Sasha has potential to become big-time, but needs to clean up the rust. The experience and and guidance he will get from this new position will be crucial and he gets another two seasons before he has to be "the man". It'll be huge for his confidence. Pavs can properly return from his injury and he'll have two weeks to get ready for the postseason...and we won't have to rush his progress back so soon. He can be in full swing at the right time!
- Damon Jones - Holy Crap, will any team playing against us get to rest ever? Jones has a wicked outside shot and we know we can count on him already.
- Devin Brown - The guy has put in some quality minutes and been a nice surprise for us all year. It's sad that he'll be our 11th man.
- Eric Snow - A decent backup point guard. We'll be counting on Snow to show the ropes to Boobie and lend his wisdom to the kid. Other than that, we're just letting him ride out his contract.

In 30 minutes we went from burning effigies to praising the skies above.

On paper, it looks fantastic. Now let's get these guys into town and see them in action. The Cleveland Cavaliers defense of the Eastern Conference Championship, Version 2.0 begins tomorrow night at the Q.

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