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Article:Something's Missing

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From ESPN’s Chad Ford Chat today:

  Chad Ford: (1:04 PM ET ) They should be rethinking it. For those of you that didn't follow the story the Cavs offered Wally Szcerbiak's (sic) expiring contract for VC on draft night. The Nets said no. I think it's a no brainer for New Jersey. VC is making too much money. He would help cripple the Cavs ability to lure other free agents to the team in 2010 when LeBron is a free agent. It's a 2-for-1 for New Jersey.

This is overwhelming.  First and foremost, not to hear about this until today is mind blowing, this really should have been a much bigger story.

Cleveland offered up the deal, so one would think it makes sense for them.  At this point basically everyone knows LeBron isn’t sticking around Cleveland any longer than he has to.  He wants to play in a big market and he can opt out, it’s that simple without even bringing Jay-Z and LeBron’s favorite borough into the picture.

The Cavaliers-LeBron era has a two year window, and it is closing, fast.  Cleveland can try and patch a team around one of the NBA’s best players and go for the title, or they should do nothing but create cap space.  LeBron isn’t the only valuable free agent in 2010, and with LeBron leaving they’ll need to do something to keep the team relevant.  Make two big signings that summer and the team at least stays involved and the fans can’t be too disappointed, they never really had a chance in keeping him.  As soon as word broke that LeBron signed some ground breaking deal by not taking the longest extension possible and having the ability to opt out, the fans should have known it was over.

The trade at the deadline last year was Cleveland’s first shot at a title run (yes they went the previous year, but it was a mirage and everyone knows it).  Ben Wallace’s corpse added a little interior defense, Wally Szczerbiak was supposed to be able to hit the open jumpers the other players were missing, Delonte West was at least something of a point guard, but it wasn’t enough to get them out of the second round.  The Celtics aren’t going anywhere, Detroit is looking to get better, the Lakers aren’t going anywhere, the Hornets and Jazz are looking to get better, the Spurs are looking to get better, I mean, the Cavs might not even be a top ten team at the start of next season if they don’t do something. 

The trade they proposed even helps them do the one thing they feared the most.  It creates even more cap space for the New Jersey (Brooklyn) Nets.  Which brings me to New Jersey…

Extremely confusing move by them here to stay pat.  Vince Carter is 31, has the ability to be a great scorer, is known for mailing it in from time to time, and has shown he isn’t going to win a championship being the best player on a team.  On top of this, he still has three years left on his contract.  He is set to be paid 18 million at the time LeBron can become a free agent, that’s almost enough money to sign him right there.

Vince together with Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd was at minimum, entertaining.  They had a (small) chance at some titles a few years ago, but they didn’t get it done, and now it’s time to blow it up.  For some reason, the Nets chose not to blow it up completely.  They moved Jefferson for Bobby Simmons, a role player at most, and for the foreign money Chairman Yi brings in from the Orient.  The fans understand what’s going on, they’re all looking towards 2010.

Plus, remember, they’re moving to Brooklyn.  Keeping fans in the seats isn’t their priority right now, they’ll have a whole new fan base in one of America’s best basketball cities, which by the way is being starved by the Knicks right now.  After this trade goes through and Wally’s deal expires, the Nets would have 18 million dollars on the books for 2010.  18!!!  That’s enough to sign LeBron for 20 million, and still have another 20 plus million dollars to spend on free agents.  Who isn’t going to Brooklyn to play with LeBron?  They would have so much freedom, it’s laughable.  They’d be the bizarro-Knicks at that point, and would likely become title contenders about nine days after the free agent period opened (you can’t sign anyone for the first eight days).

The only valid point anyone from Cleveland can make is “Why should we help the Nets when they’re getting LeBron anyway?”.  Well, exactly, they’re getting him anyway.  The current team isn’t the solution, it’s time to make a deal, and Wally’s expiring contract is their best asset.  When you have one of the NBA’s best players, I would at least my team to make a run at it.  Sitting pat never gets the job done, better to go for it than to stay slightly relevant and entertaining.  I think the Cleveland management agrees, and is in the right here.  Vince’s contract certainly isn’t a value, much like Ben Wallace’s, but it’s NBA Championship 2009/2010 or bust, and you can’t blame them for that.

The biggest fear for a Cavs fan at that point would be a mid air collision between LeBron and Vinsanity on a slightly errant Delonte West alley oop pass that would lead to both them breaking their necks and a Youtube clip on the same level as LT-Theisman or Brian Meeker-Vault.  But it makes them better and brings them a chance to win a championship, and that’s all a fan base should ever ask for.

Why didn's this trade happen? Something's missing.

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