February 16, 2011
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a terrible basketball team of historic proportions, what with their record-breaking 26-game losing streak and the general stink that comes with losing a one-time franchise savior. They're painful to watch, and most people probably wouldn't complain if they just forfeited the rest of the season.
In a way, that might be exactly what they're about to do. While better days are surely ahead, the Cavs rightfully don't seem convinced that it will happen with this group, so they're looking to make a few trades. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (via PBT), they might be ready to trade as many people as possible:
Hornets GM Dell Demps is said to be seeking a big man who can give New Orleans a little more post presence on the offensive end, and executives are openly wondering if Demps will be so bold as to chase Cleveland's Antawn Jamison(notes). [...]
The Cavs are aggressively testing the waters to see what kind of assets they can expect to accumulate by volunteering to use their $14.6 million trade exception from LeBron's departure as a parking lot for other teams' unwanted contracts. Cleveland is seeking to use that cap space to acquire draft picks and young players -- a sound strategy, especially considering that the Cavs can use all the room without putting themselves in luxury-tax jeopardy. [...]
The Hawks are looking for guard help, and sources say they may be interested in the Cavs' Ramon Sessions. The feeling among rival execs is that the Hawks may be willing to spend up to or perhaps even a bit beyond the luxury-tax threshold if there's a deal that would significantly improve their chances in a playoff series with Boston, Orlando or Miami.
Berger doesn't say it explicitly, but the upshot of these various reports is that every Cavs player of value (with the exception of J.J. Hickson(notes)) seems to be available. (Pity Mo Williams(notes), who probably wants to be the subject of trade rumors more than anyone.) This might not be a fire sale, but it seems like an invitation to inquire openly with intent to work something out. Sorry for the euphemisms -- it's just how this game works.
The Cavs are so bad that there might be a tendency to think their players are worthless, but it's important to remember that virtually the same team won 61 games last year with LeBron James(notes). Good teams need stars, so the Cavs are terrible this year. But their players can still be important players on winning teams, and the guys mentioned in Berger's piece can be valuable for playoff teams looking to improve.
So don't fret if your favorite team picks up a secondary player from the Cavs or any other certain lottery team. He might be exactly the kind of player your squad needs.