Even if the
Cavaliers can't pull the trigger on a deadline trade, they have left their fan
base no reason for pessimism. They
go into the second half of the season Thursday night at The Q with the best record in the NBA and with
all the swagger and confidence of a team that knows it's damn good.
Yeah, it might be
nice to add a piece -- a big piece.
Wouldn't Antawn Jamison shore up the power
forward slot, although Amare Stoudemire would look awfully attractive
there as well? And all you keep hearing around NBA circles is that Cavaliers general
manager Danny Ferry is working to strengthen a team that's strong now - a team
capable of winning an NBA title.
From what I've
seen of the Cavs this season, I would advise Ferry to play it cautiously: keep
the hand he's been dealt.
For it's hard to know how the chemistry of bringing in new talent might mix. Will stars like Jamison or Stoudemire, a free agent in waiting, understand that he's here not to share the spotlight but here as a supporting actor for LeBron James?
Yet if either man could fit in, wouldn't he make the Cavaliers an even more formidable team than they are?
As their season winds toward the playoffs, I guess if Ferry does make a deal, he's signaling that the team's all-in on this season: NBA title or bust.
And with Lebron's future solely in his hands (and free-agent-to-be King James has remained coy about what that future looks like), Ferry might not have a choice but to risk the team's future to win in the near and now. He would be risking that future if power forward J.J. Hickson is part of any deal.
Sure, Hickson is unpolished, but he's blessed with enormous upside, as pro scouts like wont to say. He's not, however, Stoudemire or Jamison; Hickson might never develop into either of them. But if he does, if Hickson can become a star, it would be wonderful to see his brilliance shine here, particularly if LeBron decides to stick around.
Right now, Hickson's a good sidekick to LeBron, and the way the Cavaliers are rolling along, do you mess with that hot roll?
It would be easy to second guess whatever Ferry decides to do on the eve of Thursday's trade deadline - unless the Cavs win it all. If they don't, depending on what Ferry does, he'll hear the critics howl. They'll assail him for whatever he decides if the result isn't an NBA championship.
He'll deserve none of it, though. His is a hard choice, and if he just knew for certain what LeBron James would do, Ferry would have an easier decision. With uncertainty in his mind, he can't see anything easy in what's in front of him - on the trade front, I mean.
What Ferry can see is a team playing as if it can win an NBA title, a team that can knock the Lakers off the top step. That's a comforting thought for a Cavs fan, and with Mo Williams and Delonte West getting healthier and healthier each day, all the additional pieces might already be on the team's roster; Ferry might have no reason to give up Hickson in hopes of improving.
For the improvement can and should come from West and Williams, whose roles in the team's hot streak have been minimal to none.
Both can play, and Ferry and coach Mike Brown should turn to both to help the Cavaliers become the best team in the second half just as they were the best team in the first half.