So, today we follow up our “Who Might Take Antawn” Eastern Conference Edition by looking at if there’s anyone out west who might want to do us the favor. Again, we’re looking at the teams who would be in the playoffs at this time – since its playoff-bound or playoff-fighting teams who typically pull off the mid-season trade.
San Antonio: No need. They’re still sitting with the NBA’s best record at 35-6, their situation at the 4 is more than set with Duncan/McDyess/Blair. (Quick aside: aren’t you just dying to see the next Spurs-Cavs game where DeJuan Blair and Christian Eyenga finally get to go head-to-head(ish) and settle one of the league’s biggest questions: who should the Cavs have drafted with the 30th pick in the 2009 draft? Ladies and Gentlemen, yes, we are looking at the next great rivalry here. Can’t wait! … Ahem …)
Los Angeles Lakers: Ummmm … I mean, in theory Jamison might help the Lakers’ bid for Kobe’s second three-peat, but … really … only in a panic trade if Andrew Bynum injures his knee again at 2pm on Feb. 24th, just an hour before the trade deadline. You don’t get a center in return, but you add a big body that can take some pressure off Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Doesn’t make a ton of sense to anyone other than me, though, so probably not going to happen.
Dallas: Wow, this would have been a taker if he played the same position as Caron Butler … and if Dallas was still in its no-defense days of Don Nelson (which, not surprisingly, coincided with Antawn’s last tour with the team). The Mavericks is one playoff team almost guaranSheed to make a trade before the deadline … only it’s going to be for a small forward or swingman, with Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson being mentioned.
Oklahoma City: Maybe this is the year that OKC finally makes a trade (well, one that doesn’t involve fleecing a team of one of its low-end rotation players for next-to-nothing), but I can’t really see what trading for Jeff Green’s older brother gets them.
Utah: Uh, does Utah ever pull off a big mid-season trade for a missing piece to their playoff run? Well, if it happens this year, it won’t be for ‘Tawn, as the strength of the Jazz right now – outside of Deron Williams, obviously – is their strong front court with Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap and, when healthy, Mehmet Okur.
New Orleans: Hmmmm. I like this one. The storyline that could make it happen: “The Hornets, looking for added depth, scoring and veteran leadership, acquire Antawn Jamison from the Cavs, show Chris Paul they’re committed to winning.” The more likely storyline that keeps it from happening: “Hornets ownership still in flux, NBA decides thriftiness best path to winning team.”
Denver: This just in – - – trading for Antawn Jamison is not the Nuggets biggest trade priority this season.
Portland: If the Blazers are still holding onto the 8th spot when all is said and done, bully for them. I’m serious. Total bully for them. Dealing with so many injuries to so many key, key contributors, this team’s shown some real heart. Better than that, they seem to be showing both their heart and the heart that this Cavaliers team was supposed to show this season. Yes, LeBron may have ripped our heart out, but the Blazers stole that heart and used their cutting age science (different division from their training staff … don’t be worried) to attach our heart to their team and give them the power of two overlooked, bad luck teams searching for redemption. It’d be an inspiring story if it all didn’t suck so entirely.
So, what we’re left with are a handful of teams in the East and, maybe, just one or two in the West for whom adding Jamison would even make sense. And this has been stated before, as well: If you think the Cavs are tough to watch now, just imagine what they’d look like without a reliable main scorer (such as he is, I know, I know … but still) as Antawn Jamison. Not to mention what our rebounding numbers would look like. Yeesh…
I’m starting to come around to this opinion: You don’t trade Jamison this year. No matter how much we want to turn the page for this franchise (that heavy, leaden page that just … won’t … turn … ugh), it might be in our best interests to stick to our first full season of Jamison and let his contract become enticing to teams looking to cut money the following season.
That means the Cavs would have two consecutive seasons where they would be able to offer a team over $14 million in potential cap/payroll relief – with this year’s $14.5 million trade exception and Jamison’s $15 million contract that expires after next season. Those are two really nice pieces if you’re looking to stockpile some picks or can find the right mix of talent hidden (or, I suppose, in plain sight) on another team’s roster. If we get a first round pick for Jamison this year, we’ll be looking at a pick somewhere between 20-30. But, if we get a team’s pick as part of trading Jamison for the purposes of financial relief, who knows how good the pick might be (though, yes, it would probably be lottery protected)? And, if he’s not traded expressly for a pick, that’s nice, big (though probably disgruntled) player’s salary that’s equal to Antawn’s cap number.
Again, we want the page turned. But we don’t want to turn it and read “The End.” As long as he proves he can still score and rebound in this league, the best road to go with Antawn Jamison may be to wait.
God, it even sucked typing that…