Feb 16, 2010, 9:38 AM EDT
It would be a stunning non-move if the Cavaliers failed to make any sort of trade at the deadline. They’ve been linked to just about everyone, with Antawn Jamison and Amar’e Stoudemire their top option depending on who you talk to. Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ massive expiring contract is their big chip, and they’re aggressively pursuing an upgrade somewhere, unless just about every reporter involved is way off base. And apparently, behind the two “stretch fours,” is a third option the Cavaliers are now maneuvering as a backup plan before Thursday’s 3PM Deadline
ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard reports:
It is not clear whether the Cavaliers’ second-choice is Jamison or Maggette. The discussions with Golden State have centered around Cleveland sending Ilgauskas and his $11.5 million expiring contract to the Warriors for Maggette. Other players, perhaps Cleveland’s Danny Green and Golden State’s Devean George, would have to be added to make the deal work financially.
As is the case with all their potential trades, the Cavaliers hope their trading partner would waive Ilgauskas so he could re-sign with Cleveland 30 days later. But no such deal can be struck beforehand, per league rules. The Cavaliers’ interest in Maggette, who is averaging 20.8 points per game for the Warriors, is somewhat surprising. While the 30-year-old small forward has long been regarded as one of the league’s most gifted scorers, he has three years and nearly $31 million left on his contract and has been somewhat injury prone.
It’s pretty clear from the three moves being discussed that points are the top priority for the Cavaliers. Their defense has been stout for years, but the playoffs have found them struggling for buckets against both longer, more athletic teams (Orlando) and savvy, veteran squads (San Antonio, Boston) time and time again. The addition of Maggette would certainly solve that problem. Maggette is having a renaissance year in Golden State and shooting the lights out. What’s interesting is that a move like this is kind of the polar opposite from a lineup standpoint from the other two deals being worked. Jamison or Stoudemire would keep LeBron James at the three, simply upgrading their power forward position. The addition of Maggette would likely mean more time for James at the four, which of course he’s brilliant at, but you could say the same thing for any position on the floor. It’s certainly a re-evaluation of his responsibilities and approach, and would heap more responsibilities on him, even with the scoring load lightened by Maggette. Plus, you have to wonder how much of that perimeter scoring he’d be willing to surrender.
If there’s one thing that’s becoming more and more certain, the odds of a Cleveland deal seem to be skyrocketing with every passing minute.