“More than a decade ago, it was his fault for being the bust of a player who cost the Mark Price-Brad Daugherty teams a shot at the finals,” say the News Journal’s Jason Kline of Cavs GM Danny Ferry. And with the likes of Pau Gasol , Mike Bibby, Shaquille O’Neal and (perhaps as soon as today) Jason Kidd being moved in recent weeks, Kline figures Ferry will take the heat for failing to surround LeBron James with the requisite talent to keep James in Cleveland.
The Cavs just don’t have the goods to land a superstar running mate for LeBron right now. If Ferry (above) can be blamed for anything, it was pulling out of a summer blockbuster that would have brought Bibby to town along with Argentinean forward Luis Scola and some bad contracts. It probably wasn’t Ferry who was scared off by the price tag — salary-cap hell. That’d be owner Dan Gilbert’s call.
Cavs fans who don’t think LeBron’s supporting cast is up to snuff should know what Ferry is quietly counting on. At this time next year, there aren’t many teams who will have more to offer than the Cavs. The contracts of Eric Snow ($7.3 million), Gooden ($7.1 million), Donyell Marshall ($6 million), Jones ($4.5 million) and Cedric Simmons ($1.75 million). And if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that better than $20 million in expiring contracts, a couple first-round picks and a decent young player or two can buy a whole lotta superstar.
Who might be available next year? If Milwaukee is floundering, they’ll have to consider shopping Michael Redd. The first-team all-NBA chucker is stunting the growth of two talented young big men in Andrew Bogut and Yi Jianlian and, when he’s your best player, you’re in trouble anyway. Chicago is in store for a face lift and might give up one of their good young players (Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng or Ben Gordon) to a team willing to take on Ben Wallace’s bloated deal. And if Kidd is still in New Jersey next year, the Cavs will have the numbers to make that deal work and young players in Varejao and Gibson that might draw some interest. The possibilities are almost endless. Who would have guessed the quality of players on the move this year? Things fall apart quickly in the NBA. Next year, the Cavs will be first in line to take advantage.
The Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith reports the Mavs covet Denver’s recovering Kenyon Martin — hands up, everyone who imagined at the start of the season Martin or Keith Van Horn would play any role to speak of this season, even as bargaining chips.