Lack of Talent…Trade an All-Star!

Any financial planner worth his salt would caution you to diversify and advise that the worst thing you can do is try to time the market.  I happen to agree. 

I believe trying to construct an NBA team in OKC’s image under the new CBA is the NBA version of trying to time the market.  When you really think about it, it really is a crap shoot.  Be bad, hit on your pick.   

Be bad, hit on your pick.  Be bad, hit on your pick.  Win 50 games.  It’s not something you see very often and considering they’ve already run into issues, namely having to trade James Harden, I think we can see the flaws in the model. 

Not to mention the fact that while they’re a very good team with immense talent, they haven’t won anything yet.

 

Andy’s unbelievable effort last night and his great start in general has me thinking about the Cavs options with him more and more–and it seemed to start a bit of a “trade or don’t trade” firestorm on twitter with the Cavs faithful.  I happen to think trading Anderson Varejao for a lottery pick or a handful of picks would be the Cavs version of trying to time the market.  

 

So let’s say we trade Andy for a lottery pick and another talented young player.  Say we trade him to OKC for Jeremy Lamb and Toronto’s guaranteed lottery pick.  For that trade to come out on the plus side for us we’d have to hit on that pick, Lamb would have to develop into a solid player, AND we’d have to find a way to resign those two players in a few years when we’ve already, presumably, extended Kyrie to a max deal and hopefully extended Dion Waiters.  That’s a lot that has to happen.  Once the young players hit their stride, assuming they even do, just like OKC we’d be looking at a one or two year window to break through before the cap crunch.  Stars would have to align in a way that us Clevelanders certainly aren’t used to seeing.

 

So instead we should diversify.  Going forward we should be looking at a team of young talent with a mix of established NBA veterans.  Chris Grant has done an admirable job ripping down and rebuilding this roster much faster than I, or anyone, could’ve hoped for after the decision.  While I’ll never say we have enough young talent, the picks have been made and the infusion has already occurred.  We don’t know what the future has in store for Tristan Thompson, Zeller, or even Waiters frankly.  But the early returns on Waiters and the fact that Kyrie Irving is an absolute star would indicate it’s time to move forward to the next phase.  In fact, the rise of Kyrie Irving from promising rookie to a player that looks like he could very well be one of the best PG’s in the league right now is the main reason it’s time to move forward.  With a talent like his, I don’t think we need to dump a double-double machine to roll the dice in the lottery anymore.  Especially one who is incredibly underpaid and is quickly developing tremendous chemistry with your young superstar.

 

Beyond the fact that Kyrie has all of the skills to tear up the league in a variety of ways, there are a few other reasons why we should keep the wild thing in Cleveland.  

 

The Wild Thing isn’t a fun, relentless, energy player anymore.  He’s now in his prime and it turns out his prime looks like a guy who can score 16 per night incredibly efficiently and can get you 13 boards and a half dozen or so extra possessions every night.  I just can’t see any scenario that we can get equal value for him.  I just can’t. 

 

He’s most valuable to contenders who aren’t going to trade us one of their superstars and he’s at an age where rebuilding teams aren’t going to trade us their young talent or unprotected picks either.  I understand both thought processes from other teams, but it’s not exactly like he’s 35. 

 

I know the injury history the last few years.  I know that’s probably the biggest reason people want to dump him now, assuming he’ll get hurt.  But he’s a big.  If you told me he had knee issues or a chronic back issue I’d say shop him.  But a guy who gets a broken wrist because Drew Gooden is lazy as hell on defense?  Luckily the Cavs organization knows the full extent of those injuries more than we do and know whether or not he could’ve come back to play.  All I know is that he’s healthy right now, probably worthy of an All-Star nod and doesn’t have any contacts with surgeons overseas or anywhere else (cough cough, Bynum).  He’s in his prime and since his game never really depended on outright athleticism it’s reasonable to assume he’ll have another 2-3 years of this caliber of play left on the tank.

 

So most people who believe we should trade Andy would say in 3 years from now Andy will be washed up, right around when we’ll be ready to contend.  While it’s true in 3 years from now we may see Andy start to decline, I don’t believe that we have to wait three years to make drastic leaps towards contending.  The next acquisition will most likely be the biggest of the Grant era.  Whether it be via free agency or trade, we have the assets and cap space to bring on another large piece and should have enough left over to fill out the rest of the team with actual NBA players.  In fact, the NBA and the new CBA mandates that we have to spend a ton of money this offseason.  

 

Count me in as one who would rather see Anderson Varejao, an All-Star caliber center, blended in with our new acquisitions as opposed to another lottery pick.  After a few years dragging along the bottom of the NBA, it’s coming close to the time to turn this roster into a full scale NBA roster, hand it over to a 20 year old phenom, and see just how far he can carry it.  Let’s let his favorite pick-and-roll partner see it through with him.  

 

In the end, if you can’t truly measure the value of a commodity it should be pretty tough to part with.

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.

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