With so many big names becoming available this off-season, it’s all about the money right now for most teams. There were lots of GM’s in sell mode, looking to free up as much cap space as they can for summer 2010, teams who were just looking to save money because they don’t have any, and teams who are building for right now, trying to win a championship.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the more interesting teams as they’re in a win now mode, but also have to think about this summer when they’ll be trying to retain the biggest fish of them all, LeBron James. Well, they’ve made a move that really helps them now, and they’ve protected their future by not giving up to much in the process.
They may not have gotten the guy they really wanted, Amare Stoudemire, but the acquisition of Antawn Jamison may just be better in the long run. Jamison came over as part of a three-team deal that involved the Cavaliers, Wizards and Clippers.
In the deal, Cleveland got their man in Washington forward Antawn Jamison as well as Clippers point guard Sebastian Telfair. The Wizards acquired forward Al Thornton, center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a Cavaliers draft pick. Finally, the Clippers got Drew Gooden, who was traded to the Wizards as part of last weekend’s deal involving Caron Butler.
The reason this was a win for Cleveland and the fact that this may have been a better move than the Stoudemire one was that they still get an All-Star calibre forward who will be coming in motivated and rejuvenated and they didn’t have to give up J.J. Hickson. For Cleveland, the price is just and they’re getting a good team player who will be an impact guy right away.
From a better perspective, the Cavaliers were a hot pick to win the NBA championship before the deal, but the addition of Jamison definitely increases their chances of winning it this year.
The Cavaliers have sewn up the holes from last year’s team while the other guys in the East haven’t done much. Boston is aging and rapidly and just doesn’t appear to have what it takes anymore to outlast the Cavs in a seven game series, and Orlando has had trouble with Cleveland all year.
Kevin McHale noted how the Jamison deal will help them if they face Orlando again in the post season “I think this trade was destined to happen ever since they lost to Orlando in the playoffs where they couldn’t matchup with Rashard Lewis,” McHale said on Thursday. “They needed somebody to attack Rashard Lewis and Antawn is going to make Lewis defend him.”
What is an interesting side note about this deal is that Washington is expected to explore a buyout with Ilgauskas, which could lead to him re-signing with the Cavs. If that happens, Cleveland will be by far the biggest winner on deal day. In fact, they’ll look more like armed robbers than savvy business men.
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