No excuses -- not anymore.
For the trade Cavaliers general manager
Danny Ferry had been trying to make is done, and the deal didn't cost him his most
gifted young talent. So with J.J.
Hickson not in the bargain, Ferry had no choice
but to take this deal over another possibility he had to weigh.
And he took it.
Ferry landed what should be the missing
piece his Cavs needed in forward Antawn Jamison, a classy veteran who looked
like a better fit here than forward/center Amare Stoudemire would have been.
Not that the team needed much help.
Already, LeBron James, Shaq O'Neal and the Cavaliers were heading into the
season's second half tonight with the best record in basketball, and given the
chance to make his hand stronger, Ferry didn't stand pat.
Ferry traded a first-round pick, center
Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his $11.5 million expiring contact in a three-team deal
that also brought the Cavs a serviceable point guard in Sebastian Telfair.
Their trade partners were the Wizards and the Clippers, and all got something that they coveted. In the case of the Wizards and the Clippers, both got salary-cap relief, no small issue in these difficult economic times.
For Ferry, he signaled to everybody in basketball that the Cavaliers are all-in for what could be LeBron's final season in wine and gold. If this season was going to be the King's swan song, Ferry figured he wasn't going to let his star's career end here without an NBA title, and adding a talent like Jamison improves the odds of the title coming to Cleveland.
With this deal done, what excuses can LeBron, Shaq and the Cavs have for not winning?
Undoubtedly, some fans will say they preferred Stoudemire over Jamison. But the price the Suns put on Stoudemire was one the Cavaliers couldn't afford to pay. He also represented too much uncertainty, because his desire to be "king" himself might have proved a chemistry experiment that exploded inside The Q.
Talented, Stoudemire is, and more talented than Jamison. Stoudemire's also a free agent in waiting, as LeBron is. To put the emerging Hickson into any deal with the Suns would have bankrupted the team's talent pool. He's an asset for the long term, an almost irreplaceable player to have around in case LeBron does take his Nike ads elsewhere.
What made this deal even more appealing for the Cavs, people around the league were saying, is that, in 30 days, Ilgauskas is likely to return. Z will probably agree to a buyout with the Clippers, and once that happens, he can return to Cavaliers and fortify their front line for a run at an NBA title.
Until then, Hickson should get most of Z's minutes, and Jamison will slide into Hickson's slot in the starting lineup. He will give the Cavs a scoring option at power forward that, as of yet, Hickson can't supply. Jamison will also make an already deep roster deeper.
The best team in the NBA got better in one move.
How can there be any excuses this time?