The clock is ticking. As if this compressed season hasn’t gone by fast enough, the NBA’s trade deadline is approaching as fast as Kobe deciding to pull-up for a jumper. March 15 marks the last possible day that teams can trade cats to either improve their shot to make a real title run or look to revamp their squads with an eye towards the future. As basketball fans, we all love to discuss trade scenarios probably more so than the actual play at hand. Now it’s time for GMs to get on the phone and make something happen.
Considering how unique this season has been with the amount of games being played per week, the volume of key injuries transpiring, and the important roles youth and depth have played, the race to win the ‘ship is as wide open as ever. One move could truly alter the playoff landscape.
So a team with the smartest and most proactive basketball brain-trust can steal themselves a ring… be it for this season or one down the line. “Had to had to get these chips. Had to make moves like Olajuwon,” Jay-Z spit in “My 1st Song.” These next five franchises must make a similar move.
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5. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-22, No. 10 Spot)
The Cleveland Cavaliers have seemingly been flirting with the eight seed longer than the teams that courted LeBron in the fateful summer of 2010. A lot of credit should be given to Kyrie Irving and Byron Scott for leading this Cavs roster past everyone’s expectations. They compete every night and are developing their young guys in the process, which are vital starting points for any rebuilding team.
However, how beneficial would it really be for the Cavs to vie for the playoffs as an eight seed? Sure, the playoff experience that Irving and Tristan Thompson would gain could be nice for their growth. But would making the postseason this year be that helpful to their long-term confidence, especially if they potentially face off and are swept by those Heatles? I know Dan Gilbert wants to win so bad he’ll do anything to be Nostradamus on his prediction that his Cavs will win a title before King James.
In fact, Gilbert should look back into this crystal ball and realize the countless mistakes he made, and learn from them so he won’t screw things up in a similar fashion with Irving. The management’s primary flaw in constructing a contender was their approach of trading for and signing veterans past their primes instead of drafting elite players that could grow alongside King James as he matured. Being overly concerned of LeBron leaving them at some point once they drafted him, they felt compelled to win as soon as possible. This tactic, obviously, blew up and embarrassed them in a manner no one could’ve fathomed. With Irving, they now have a second chance to rewrite sports history in Cleveland and bring a championship the right way.
Therefore, the Cavs should look to trade Antawn Jamison and his expiring contract for a first-round pick or young prospects. Jamison is a pro by every sense of the word, but keeping him for the remainder of the season for mentorship would be a disservice to him and the franchise’s future hopes. What’s the point of having the $15-million cap space when Jamison becomes a free agent this summer if players are not attracted to make Cleveland a permanent residence, especially when they’re far from legitimately contending? Some team out there â€“ with assets to load off – could use Jamison’s shooting and leadership for their playoff run. Also, trading Ramon Sessions and even Anderson Varejao should be seriously considered, particularly if the latter could bring in a lottery pick in this loaded 2012 NBA Draft to team up with Irving’s rise amongst today’s point guard elite.