Ball Don't Lie - NBA

The Cavaliers have officially acquired Antawn Jamison from the Wizards. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the three-way deal ...

Austin Burton, Dime: "I've gotten on Jamison for his shot-jacking in the past, but the bottom line is he produces. He's like Zach Randolph(notes) in that he'll get his 20-and-10 even if he frustrates you sometimes with his decision making. And you could even argue that the bad habits Jamison has picked up are more the result of being infected with Wizards poison than anything. Given a fresh start on a Cleveland squad that has a real chance to win it all, Jamison could re-learn to keep his ego in check and be a difference-maker. Jamison is a good pickup for the Cavs, and more importantly, a good pickup for LeBron. His arrival doesn't guarantee anything, but put it this way: The chances LeBron stays in Cleveland beyond 2010 are better now than they were the day before yesterday."

Matt Moore, NBA FanHouse: "After four seasons of toying with package deals of mediocre support, the Cavs pulled the trigger on acquiring a legitimate top-flight player to pair with the King. Though names like Wally Szczerbiak(notes), Ben Wallace(notes) and Delonte West(notes) are all considerable talents who have done good work for the Cavs, they're not the players the Cavs needed to put them in position for a title. The Cavs needed, more than ever this season, to show LeBron James(notes) they were willing to do anything to win a title. They needed to give James the equivalent of the Gasol trade. And Wednesday night, they did."

Craig Kwasniewski, The Association: "Lemme get this straight, the Cavs have been rolling over every opponent (including the defending champs) with size and defense so they trade size and defense away for smaller and offense. I attended the Lakers-Cavs game on Xmas Day and the Lakers had no answer when Mike Brown put both Shaq and Ilgauskas on the floor at the same time. Gasol and Bynum never had to face a frontline bigger and stronger than them and they backed off as Cleveland blew out the Lakers. Weeks later the same thing happened in Cleveland as the Cavs size especially threw Gasol off his game. How is a smaller mid-range guy with no defensive skills going to help? He's only made it out of the first round once in the playoffs, he struggled when on a contending team (2003-04 Dallas Mavericks) and he can't play a lick of defense. I can't stress this enough, Mike Brown made his bones as a defensive coach, he's quite possibly the least creative offensive coach in the history of the NBA, yet he's still LeBron's coach because he calls a hell of a defensie game. How is a guy who played his entire career on offense-first zero-defense teams going to blend with the Cavs?"

John Krolik, Cavs: The Blog: "Amar'e may have been too big for this team. He's been the high scorer on the Suns for most of his career. He would've demanded to start. He would've demanded major minutes. You've got to build an offense with him in mind. And so on down the line. I think Amar'e would have been worth that risk, but he wasn't available. The good news is that Jamison doesn't have Stoudemire's alpha dog ego. Jamison's been a third option in Washington before, and thrived in the role. He's toiled in Golden State and on some bad Wizards teams. He doesn't need to be the focus of an offense. He's always willing to adapt his game. He's never been a prima donna. Jamison's upside isn't sky-high, but he's an extremely low-risk upgrade for the rest of the year."

Michael Wilbon, Washington Post: "Let's give President Ernie Grunfeld this: He made a pretty good deal. In fact, it's a better deal than expected because the Wizards got four things a team needs when starting over: 1) They got a big, expiring contract and salary cap room by dealing for Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes), who makes $11.5 million in this, the last season of his contract. 2) The Wizards got Cleveland's first-round draft pick. 3) They got a young player of note in Al Thornton(notes), from the Clippers. 4) They'll get immediate luxury-tax relief from the buyout they will negotiate with Ilgauskas."

Kevin Pelton, Basketball Prospectus: "Count me among those who think Jamison is a better fit for Cleveland than Stoudemire, based on the reasons I went into in scouting the two players earlier this week. Jamison is a much better partner for Cavaliers sixth man Anderson Varejao(notes), and while I don't think Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal(notes) are incapable of playing together, neither do I think they are as potent as a duo as Jamison and O'Neal because of Jamison's superior range. In terms of winning a championship this year, I think Jamison was Cleveland's best bet. If and when Ilgauskas returns (he'd have to sit out at least 30 days if he decides to re-sign), the Cavaliers will be incredibly deep in the frontcourt, where it's tough to imagine quality players like J.J. Hickson(notes) or Leon Powe(notes) seeing any playing time at this point. The big thing Cleveland has now done is given Mike Brown the ability to match up with almost any kind of lineup."

John Bena, Fear The Sword: "Ilgauskas lost nearly four full seasons to injury, yet still is an All-Time Great Cavalier. Yesterday, in a quest to win a championship, the Cavaliers traded Ilgauskas away. Sure, the perception is that Washington will buy-out the remaining portion of Z's contract allowing for Z to return, but as we know nothing is a sure thing. No, it is possible that we have seen the last of Big Z in a Cavaliers uniform. Before we move full steam ahead in our quest for a ring, let's take a moment to thank Z for what he has meant to the Cavaliers and the city. He may never get the recognition he deserves, though I feel that someday his No. 11 will join other Cavaliers' greats in the rafters."

Stepien Rules: "Danny Ferry's a crook, and if I'm ever in the same room as him I'm leaving my wallet in the car. First he dumped Larry Hughes(notes) and got some value (Delonte) in return. Then he moves Damon Jones(notes) for Mo Williams(notes), then Sasha and Ben for Shaq, and now Z (with the chance he comes back) for Jamison essentially. And now his work is done. As Gene Hackman once said, 'my team is on the floor.' The trade talk was fun, but title talk's better, and all the pieces are now — for the first time in the LeBron James era — in place. Its NBA title or bust time at this point, there are no more holes to fill."

WaitingForNextYear: "I don't think that Antawn is a slam dunk to start, especially at first. In order to make this transition as seamless as possible I think the Cavs will want to keep the starting unit together. Andy Varejao hasn't been the starter for a long time now, but he still gets more time on the court than Hickson. Plus, without Zydrunas for at least a month, Varejao's role changes slightly. He is now the primary back-up center. It makes sense to me to keep Shaq and Hickson playing together, and let Varejao and Jamison find some chemistry on court together. Don't forget, Jamsion was a 6th man award winner before. He could provide that punch off the bench we need, especially when LeBron sits."

Cleveland Frowns"I consider myself to be a fairly experienced 'diver' when it comes to the NBA trade waters. I understand salary cap ramifications, I know how important chemistry can be to a team, and I always try to judge players based on actual ability rather than accrued fame or media appeal. When this whole Amare thing started, I was evaluating any potential deals with these aforementioned principles in mind. By mid-day Wednesday, it had all given way to Amare fever. I had thrown caution to the wind. I wanted ... no, the Cavs needed Amare at any cost! Thankfully, depending on who you believe, either Steve Kerr blinked or Danny Ferry came to his senses and made the right deal for the Cavs (or Kerr and Ferry planned from the start to feign interest in an Amare-Hickson deal to drive the price of Jamison down on the Wizards and/or the price of Stoudemire up on the Heat). Regardless of how it happened, the Cavs ended up making the correct move, and for that, despite my brief bout of insanity, I am extremely grateful."

Brian Spencer, Empty The Bench: "Can we start referring to Flip Saunders, head coach of the sunken ship that is the Washington Wizards, King Moonraiser instead? Because at this point, with his team decimated and looking more and more like the Southeast Division's version of the New Jersey Nets (they of the 5-49 record), Saunders is not as much a NBA coach as he is the caretaker of a team full of forgotten, disregarded, and, yes, unloved toys players."

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