Would You Pay Josh Childress The Full MLE?

Reports are that the Cavaliers have interest in ex-Hawk (current Grecian phenomenon) Josh Childress but are are hung up on committing to him long term.  Apparently Childress is asking for the full Mid-Level Exception, which for the Cavaliers, would mean signing him to a deal which would pay him $5.8 mil, for (5) years, which goes up annually by 8% through the duration of the contract.  On a year by year basis (I’ll do the math for you), that would mean the Cavaliers would owe Childress $5.8 mil the first year, then $6.2, $6.7, $7.3, $7.9 in each of the subsequent years.  That being said, if your the Cavaliers, would you do it?

I say yes, and my reasons are below:

1. Upside:  Josh Childress is 26, and in the 5th year of the deal he would only be only 31.  In the life of an NBAer it would not be crazy to assume he is entering the prime of his career.  A career that, prior to this year when he jumped ship to play abroad, included (4) full NBA seasons where he averaged at least 10 points per game.  In 2007-2008, he was a key part of a playoff team in Atlanta, and averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per contest.  He has proven that he can play in this league, and can somewhat stretch the defense as well, shooting 37% from three for his career.

2.  He Fits a Need:  A variety of needs actually.  The Cavaliers need to add size to their backcourt, and depth to their bench.  Listed as a SG, the 6’8″ Childress certainly adds size to the backcourt.  And while he is not the proverbial stretch four player, I like my chances of Childress matching up with a Rashard Lewis or Hedo Turoglu on the perimeter a whole lot better than I do say a 6’9″ Ben Wallace, or a 6’3″ Delonte West.  Beyond that, whether he ends up starting or not, the Cavaliers would end up bringing real talent off of their bench – a bench that was lost in Disneyworld during the Orlando series.  If he does start, along with Mo, LeBron, Anderson (assuming he signs) and Shaq, you are bringing Z and Delonte West off the bench as your sixth and seventh man.  If he doesn’t, he comes off the bench, and would be a very real candidate for the 6th Man of the Year Award. 

3.  Danny Ferry:  If it doesn’t end up working out I’d bet my parents house that Ferry could trade him.  Danny Ferry may not be the best draft manager in the NBA, but this guy can sell ice to an Eskimo.  If he hasn’t already proved that to you, you haven’t been paying attention.  If he can trade Larry Hughes and his contract for the guys he traded him for, trade Damon Jones for Mo Williams, and Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for Shaq, he would be able to trade Josh Childress too if goes bad – and get value in return.

4.  W.I.N.:  The great Lou Holtz coined the phrase What’s Important Now some years back, and there is nothing more important to the Cavaliers this season than winning.  Regardless of what happens in five years, Josh Childress makes you better next season – for sure.  There can be no gambling on the fact that LeBron is going to stay at this point, and you need to operate as if he may not. If you are thinking about the here and now, you sign Josh Childress, and worry about three years from now, three years from now.

To be fair, it isn’t as easy as just offering Childress a contract, and him accepting it.  The Hawks do still own his rights, and could still match any NBA offer for him.  But chances are they won’t.  The Hawks just signed Mike Bibby, and Zaza Pachulia, and still have Marvin Williams, and Flip Murray to deal with, in order to keep the nucleus of their playoff team in tact. 

If you can get him for less, obviously get him for less, but if it is the full MLE, I say pull that trigger while you still have LeBron James leading your troops behind you.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.