View Full Version : (Windy) - NBA Insider: Balancing present, future tricky

07-05-2009, 04:44 PM
Didn't see this posted yet:

Balancing present, future tricky: NBA Insider
by Brian Windhorst/Plain Dealer Reporter
Sunday July 05, 2009, 4:54 AM

Let's get right to it: Is the fact LeBron James has just one year left on his contract hurting the Cavaliers in their free-agent pursuits?

To a certain extent, absolutely.

The Cavs are chasing role players in free agency and, in some cases, offering multiyear contracts. Without the ability to outbid other teams this summer, the biggest part of the Cavs' sales pitch is a chance to play for a championship and with James.

In Sports Illustrated's annual poll released in March, James was the far-and-away winner of the query, "Which opposing player would you most like to have on your team?" In fact, he nearly tripled Kobe Bryant's votes.

So not being 100 percent sure where James will be in 2010 is an issue. But it is an issue the Cavs are happy to be dealing with. They'd much rather be the team trying to keep its megastar than the ones ripping teams apart in the hope of getting a star.

The truth is all of the teams with the 2010 free agents are having their issues dealing with balancing the present and the future. It isn't easy, and the Cavs have been handling it about as well as anyone could expect or project.

For example:

The Miami Heat is having some mildly serious back-and-forth with Dwyane Wade about the same topic. Last month, Wade went on a radio show in his hometown of Chicago and indicated he'll probably pass on a contract extension offered by the Heat this summer.

A few days later, Heat President Pat Riley reacted to that by saying he can't go forth with any major moves without getting a commitment from Wade past next season.

"There can't be any major franchise changes made without his commitment," Riley said. "What we do going forward is going to be predicated on that. I don't know if I want to change this team that much. Keeping the team together might be the thing until we can make the move in '10."

The Cavs and General Manager Danny Ferry have the same issue. The Heat, again very much like the Cavs, is in position to have massive amounts of cap space next summer and could use it to add a major free agent next to Wade. So it seems a reasonable request from Riley -- until you hear what Wade had to say the day after hearing Riley's comments.

"I'm in my prime right now, playing the best basketball I've ever played, and I feel as good as I ever felt. So let's not wait. Let's do it now if we can do it. So it's not about me signing a contract," Wade told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"They have to do everything they can to make sure they want me there for the future. . . . I always have the best interest of the basketball team every time I take the court. But in this stage, where you're talking about contracts and free agency, you have to think about yourself and what's best."

Whoops. Now you have the Heat president and the soon-to-be free-agent superstar going back and forth in public about who is going to blink first over committing to the future. This is what the Heat are dealing with as the Cavs introduce Shaquille O'Neal. So keep that in mind.

Friday, the Toronto Raptors appeared to make a massive decision by agreeing with Hedo Turkoglu on a five-year, $53 million contract. To do it, they are going to have to renounce the rights to at least six of their free agents, including Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker. It seemed the Raptors were interested in re-signing several of them and reportedly had offers on the table to Delfino and Marion when they pulled them to sign Turkoglu.

Had they just re-signed their own free agents, they would have still had their mid-level and biannual exceptions to add role players to build on a strong finish to last season. Instead, they are giving a 30-year-old, one-time All-Star a $10 million-per-season contract and leaving themselves dangerously thin everywhere.

What is their justification for this? Well, earlier this summer, Chris Bosh said he would not sign an extension and would become a free agent in 2010 no matter what, which triggered a huge new wave of Bosh trade ideas. Meanwhile, as the Raptors are tossing and turning over going after Turkoglu or keeping their guys, Bosh is using his Twitter account to say how much he wants the team to sign Turkoglu.

So they are now going to sign Turkoglu and watch the rest of their assets disappear in the hopes of hitting a grand slam. And trying not to think about paying Turkoglu $13 million when he's 35.

With Amar'e Stoudemire reminding everyone who will listen that he's part of the 2010 free-agent class, too, the Suns have twice seriously considered trading him in the past six months, even if it is for pennies on the dollar. And they probably will do so again.

Ray Allen, a 2010 free agent, has been popping up in trade rumors attached to the Boston Celtics, even though they are denying it. Can you blame Boston for denying or thinking about it? No.

The Houston Rockets, uncertain what will happen with the health of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady (who can both be free agents in 2010), alienated Ron Artest after offering him just a one-year contract. Then, they basically said goodbye to Von Wafer, one of their undervalued finds who helped them reach the second round of the playoffs, when signing Trevor Ariza to play his position.

So the point is lots of teams have issues with uncertainty after this season, it isn't just the Cavs. And there aren't any easy answers, either.

Dribbles: In the wake of the Cavs' trade for O'Neal, many fans have wondered whether the Cavs could have traded for him at the trade deadline last February. Some use the inability to trade Wally Szczerbiak's contract at the deadline for a big man as the reason the Cavs did not reach the NBA Finals. That certainly is a defendable point. However, the Cavs and Suns were never on the verge of making a trade at the time.

The Suns had just fired coach Terry Porter and were playing very well and had decided not to trade Stoudemire or O'Neal in an attempt to make the playoffs. The Cavs were sensitive about making major changes to their team, as well. The trade talks did not become public until deadline day, which made it look as if it was close, but by that time they had mostly died.

If you watched Shaq's introductory news conference Thursday, you may have heard Shaq several times reference "Uncle Jerome" for being his advisor. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert even introduced Uncle Jerome to the crowd. Uncle Jerome is Jerome Crawford, and he isn't Shaq's uncle by blood, but he's been like one for Shaq since he was a child.

Crawford is a former Newark, N.J., homicide detective who has been a mentor to Shaq his whole life and has been by Shaq's side for years as a personal bodyguard. He likely will have the same role with the Cavs.

It is not unlike the role of Randy Mims, who works for the Cavs as a player liaison and is one of James' closest friends and trusted advisers. Mims, whom fans will recognize as the friend who dances with James in recent State Farm commercials, has become a key part of the Cavs' organization.

Why did the Cavs have to wait until Wednesday afternoon and Thursday to host Shaq? Well, he had some pressing business matters to deal with. On Tuesday, he closed on the sale of his Miami Beach mansion for $16 million. The 19,000-square foot, 2.5-acre estate cost him $18.8 million in 2004, and he tried to sell it a year later for as much as $32 million. Alex Rodriguez almost bought the house, which Shaq bought from former Heat center Rony Seikaly in 2007. It was bought by Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin, who is engaged to supermodel Naomi Campbell. Shaq's main residence is in Orlando, Fla., where he lives near Tiger Woods.

In its July 13 issue, ESPN The Magazine released a comprehensive ranking of the 122 NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL franchises. More than 50,000 people filled out surveys for the research, which includes analysis of ownership, coaching, players, title track, stadium experience, affordability, fan relations and bang for the buck.

The Cavs ranked No. 5 overall and the highest in players for their effort on the field and likability off of it. The Los Angeles Angels ranked No. 1 overall, the Los Angeles Clippers ranked No. 122. The New York Knicks were 121st. The Indians ranked 67th, and the Browns came in at 114th.


07-05-2009, 04:49 PM
Is Windy reading RCF?

07-05-2009, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the article and huge props to Windy. He's a great beat writer.

07-05-2009, 04:58 PM
the Los Angeles Clippers ranked No. 122. The New York Knicks were 121st. The Indians ranked 67th, and the Browns came in at 114th.
Good to see the Browns topped the Knicks and Clippers :thumbup: :chuckles:

07-05-2009, 05:09 PM
would love to see how close the gap betweed 121 and 122 was.

07-05-2009, 05:15 PM
would love to see how close the gap betweed 121 and 122 was.


07-05-2009, 05:20 PM
Am I the only person who gets the impression that the roster is set for next season. Maybe a minor signing for a SF or PF, but not a major impact.

07-05-2009, 05:21 PM
Am I the only person who gets the impression that the roster is set for next season. Maybe a minor signing for a SF or PF, but not a major impact.

i still feel like there's a trade coming

07-05-2009, 05:26 PM

Its important to note, in this time of FA panic, that the cavs ranked #1 in sports for Players. And thats with Sasha on the team.

07-05-2009, 05:26 PM
Is Windy reading RCF?

B-Windy and Bob Finnan have had a mutually beneficial relationship with RCF for some time... we have thousands of members who ask good questions. They occasionally need a compass to figure out which questions are the most pressing everyday from a fan's perspective.

It's good to look at the questions and challenges other teams are going through right now. Thanks to Windhorst for the perspective many Cavs fans have lacked these past few days.

07-05-2009, 05:30 PM
Its important to note, in this time of FA panic, that the cavs ranked #1 in sports for Players. And thats with Sasha on the team.

Some of those seem a little arbitrary to me. For example, I think Jacobs Field has gotten stale in the game day experience, and the Browns win very little, yet STX was high for the Indians and BNG was high for the Browns.

07-05-2009, 05:31 PM
Hedo for $53 million is Larry Hughes Stupid.

07-05-2009, 05:44 PM
Hedo for $53 million is Larry Hughes Stupid.


07-05-2009, 05:49 PM
Hedo for $53 million is Larry Hughes Stupid.

I cant imagine how I'd feel as a Raps fan. Yay because they did something but so so dirty when you think about Hedo at 35 making franchise $. You want to trade for Bosh you might have to take Hedo as well.

07-05-2009, 06:03 PM
I'm okay with the roster now. I think we can still win it all with this team. Anything else we add like Parker, Mcdyess or whoever is just bonus.

07-05-2009, 06:08 PM
At this point we still cannot guard Lewis/Howard/Carter or Odom/Artest/Bryant without putting a small player on one of them.

The major thing I do like about this new team is that we now have a shot blocker and post scorer. I still think Cle should sign a wing defender, not sure Parker is good enough there at the age. Id prefer Barnes if he's still available.

07-05-2009, 06:58 PM
I'm okay with the roster now. I think we can still win it all with this team. Anything else we add like Parker, Mcdyess or whoever is just bonus.

I'm not so sure, but I'm beginning to think that most of our main competition in the East are moving in the wrong direction. Orlando's move seems like more of making a move for the sake of making a move and they've hurt themselves in terms of depth. Boston is talking to all the same washed up aging players that we've been talking to and I'm not sold that adding Sheed to anyone's lineup is the way to go. They could end up hurting themselves long-term by making a move for an aging past their prime vet. I like the fact that Danny is taking his time and not pulling the trigger until the fit is right. I see a trade coming.

07-05-2009, 07:00 PM
The single biggest problem above all other problems is now depth. If we don't sign anyone else and AV leaves, then we have Shaq and Z and DJ and JJ as our bigs. There is no one to back up LeBron besides maybe Green (hahahaha) and boobie and kinsey behind Mo and Delonte. If any of those starters goes down for more than like 3 weeks, we are screwed. I know that we won't miss the playoffs or anything, but we need some home court cookin to get us as far as we wannna go, and that won't happen if we finnish 3/4/5.
we are too old and too young at the 4/5. I'm not saying we need an All star caliber, but we need some serious young depth to keep us healthy through the season, which is why we should either sign AV or S&T AV.

Trill Cosby
07-05-2009, 07:14 PM
i still feel like there's a trade coming

Same here K...just a gut feeling.

And it'll be fun to see the chicken little fans who wants Ferry's head to a complete 180 if and when it happens.

*patiently waiting like Curtis & Marshall*

07-05-2009, 08:01 PM
for some reason hedo fit with the magic perfectly.......obviously VC is a great player but something about it leads me to believe that they're not going to have the same effect this next year. The matchups arent as big of a mismatch.

Delonte can guard VC a lot better than he can match up with hedo or lewis and that leave bron to guard lewis. Shaq obviously will match up a little better with D-HO than Z, so I have to agree with the previous poster and say that the major competition in the East hasn't gotten significantly better if not worse. Also, for some reason Boston doesn't worry me.

07-05-2009, 08:05 PM
Hedo for $53 million is Larry Hughes Stupid.

Notice that despite his suckage, the Wizards didn't recover either.

Hopefully, Orlando misses Turk that much....

07-05-2009, 08:24 PM
Notice that despite his suckage, the Wizards didn't recover either.

Hopefully, Orlando misses Turk that much....

Okay...come on....you act like losing Larry sent the Wiz into a tailspin...LOL....:chuckles:

Larry last year with Wiz - 45 wins.

The Wiz won 42 games without Hughes the next year. (The stats say they considerably overachieved the last year with Hughes, and underachieved the first year without him.)

2 years after Hughes was gone they won 41 games.....Butler, Arenas, and Jamison all missed significant games and Arenas and Butler didn't play in the Playoffs.

3 years after Hughes left, they won 43 games....and Arenas played only 13 games and was gimpy in the Playoffs and Butler missed 24 games.

It's hard to even remotely relate the loss of Hughes to the Wizards "fall"....fact is they pretty much were the same team without him that they were with him, especially when you consider some of the injury issues they faced the years after he left.

Maybe that's not what you were trying to do....I don't truly know....just laying this out there though.

07-05-2009, 08:37 PM
Didn't see this posted yet:

The second article in a row by Windy where the HEADLINE seems to appeal to Cavs fans in full blown PANIC mode, while the actual article is factual, accurate, and informative.

I don't think LBJ's situation has effected any of the free agents this offseason that the Cavs have ALLEGEDLY "struck out" on.

Artest has had LA on his mind before, as that article with him walking into the locker room with Kobe showed....plus one of his best friends(Odom) is likely to re-sign with that team....and Ron is getting older now and a championship could make him relevant again. Ron has played okay since coming back to the NBA, but has largely been absent from the LIMELIGHT, signing with LA fixesthat for him.

Ariza clearly tried to play hardball with the Lakers not knowing they had a better player, Artest, in their back pocket if Ariza didn't like the offer the Lakers made him. His jump to Houston tells me he wants to make a name for himself in the NBA now that he has a championship....he is still just 24 tears old. The info that Ariza's 2nd choice was apparently Toronto tells me his 2 top desires were a chance to PROVE himself as a player and MONEY.

Charlie V was very much a pipe dream in the eyes of Cavs fans. Clearly many people misread what this guy's value was on the open market. At only 24 and with his skillset, someone was bound to overpay for him. Plus when you start to break down his production toward the end of last season....he really exploded. I'm sure some teams looked at those numbers from the end of last year and had no problem paying him more than the MLE....something the Cavs just couldn't do.

As for Sheed....I don't honestly think he's on the Cavs radar. While some see him as a fit, and his agent tried to leak that nonsense story to "Slam" magazine about a 2 year $20 million offer from the Cavs....which was laughable because it was IMPOSSIBLE....I just feel like the Cavs don't think he fits here...especially in the locker room.

So...where does LBJ's situation effect this offseason???:confused:

Maybe it will....but it hasn't yet.

07-05-2009, 09:20 PM
I hope this Windhorst story is read by all fans. Solid levelheaded reasoned analysis. It's needed with all the panic and uninformed opinions being spread all over the place. Casual fans who don't have a good understanding of free agency and all the rules really need it.

The Cavs have missed out on one FA. Trevor Ariza. So far the other names weren't realistic options or the Cavs didn't have interest. The names the Cavs were thought to have a real chance at or to have an interest in before free agency started are still out there. At least the ones based in reality.

A little calm and patience would be nice. Every time a name or idea comes up it doesn't have to immediately blow up into a too long thread that's impossible to read.