Nov 30, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng (9) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jarrett Jack (1) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This is so confusing: Trade rumors need to stop

This is so confusing. Every five minutes there’s another rumor about a deal, or another theory about a deal. Dion Waiters is on his way out of town. No, he’s not. The Nets want Jarrett Jack. No, the Kings do. Might as well deal Luol Deng because he has no interest in staying beyond this year. David Griffin wants to add a veteran to help the playoff push. No, he wants to shed salary and accumulate more draft picks. Just get the trade deadline over with, please, so we can just watch the games.

There’s just too much that we don’t know, which probably makes it as difficult for Griffin as it is for us. The first thing we don’t know about is Griffin himself. For all we know he’s a complete psychotic who believes every roster should have 15 Matthew Dellavedovas. Well, that’s probably not true, but we certainly don’t know if he thinks Dion and Kyrie on the same team is a good idea. We also don’t know if he thinks this roster is just a couple of pieces away from contending or needs a complete overhaul, or if he thinks he has to do something spectacular to have a chance of keeping his job.  

The result of all this uncertainty is that just about anything you hear or read seems plausible. Most of the national media seems to think that Waiters is a goner. At least his recent surge has improved the quality of the players rumored to be coming back in return to the point that you feel confident that, if he is dealt, the Cavs will get something back in return that will keep the rebuild moving in the right direction (Harrison Barnes?). That is good news, because a few weeks ago it looked like they would take the first offer they got for Waiters.

So what should we hope for? We should hope that the core (Varejao and Deng plus the six first round picks) is retained unless it results in a core piece being added. We should hope that they don’t get so eager to make the playoffs that they sacrifice any future assets. (By future assets I mean picks with a chance to end up in the lottery. The pick that Miami owes us is unlikely to net anything that moves the needle, so if Philadelphia would take that pick for Evan Turner, for example, I would do it.) We should hope that they add a shooter, if the price is right (Arron Afflalo?). We should hope that they either add or put themselves in position to add an elite player before the beginning of next season, as well as an eventual replacement for Anderson Varejao (if they can’t get both of those in one guy). 

So how many of those things are actually possible? Well, you could check off about half that list by tanking, but that seems unlikely; besides, it is probably better for the long-term health of the franchise if the young guys start learning how to win. Still, trading Varejao, Deng and Jack for prospects or picks would probably sink the season enough to result in a top-five pick in June, in addition to whatever they get from the trades, so David Griffin has to consider that option. My hope, though, is that they stop stockpiling picks and put all of their assets together to get one or two guys who can put them over the hump. I’m not sure if that happens at the trade deadline, through free agency or at the draft, but with all the young guys on the roster it would not be helpful to keep adding three or four rookies every year.  This team needs a shooter and a big, and it has the assets in place to add both by the beginning of next season without seriously disrupting the core. You add those two pieces to what is already in place, you have a team capable of challenging the top teams in the Eastern Conference. 

This is so confusing.  Every five minutes there’s another rumor about a deal, or another theory about a deal.  Dion Waiters is on his way out of town.  No, he’s not.   The Nets want Jarrett Jack.  No, the Kings do.  Might as well deal Luol Deng because he has no interest in staying beyond this year.   David Griffin wants to add a veteran to help the playoff push.   No he wants to shed salary and accumulate more draft picks.   Just get the trade deadline over with, please, so we can just watch the games.

There’s just too much that we don’t know, which probably makes it as difficult for Griffin as it is for us.  The first thing we don’t know about is Griffin himself.   For all we know he’s a complete psychotic who believes every roster should have fifteen Matthew Dellavedovas.  Well, that’s probably not true, but we certainly don’t know if he thinks Dion and Kyrie on the same team is a good idea.  We also don’t know if he thinks this roster is just a couple of pieces away from contending or needs a complete overhaul, or if he thinks he has to do something spectacular to have a chance of keeping his job.

The result of all this uncertainty is that just about anything you hear or read seems plausible.   Most of the national media seems to think that Waiters is a goner.  At least his recent surge has improved the quality of the players rumored to be coming back in return to the point that you feel confident that, if he is dealt, the Cavs will get something back in return that will keep the rebuild moving in the right direction (Harrison Barnes?).  That is good news, because a few weeks ago it looked like they would take the first offer they got for Waiters.

So what should we hope for?   We should hope that the core (Varejao and Deng plus the six first round picks) is retained unless it results in a core piece being added.  We should hope that they don’t get so eager to make the playoffs that they sacrifice any future assets. (By future assets I mean picks with a chance to end up in the lottery.  The pick that Miami owes us is unlikely to net anything that moves the needle, so if Philadelphia would take that pick for Evan Turner, for example, I would do it.) We should hope that they add a shooter, if the price is right (Arron Afflalo?).  We should hope that they either add or put themselves in position to add an elite player before the beginning of next season, as well as an eventual replacement for Anderson Varejao (if they can’t get both of those in one guy).

So how many of those things are actually possible?   Well, you could check off about half that list by tanking, but that seems unlikely; besides, it is probably better for the long-term health of the franchise if the young guys start learning how to win.   Still, trading Varejao, Deng, and Jarrett Jack for prospects or picks would probably sink the season enough to result in a top-five pick in June, in addition to whatever they get from the trades, so David Griffin has to consider that option.  My hope, though, is that they stop stockpiling picks and put all of their assets together to get one or two guys who can put them over the hump.  I’m not sure if that happens at the trade deadline, through free agency, or at the draft, but with all the young guys on the roster it would not be helpful to keep adding three or four rookies every year.  This team needs a shooter and a big, and it has the assets in place to add both by the beginning of next season without seriously disrupting the core.   You add those two pieces to what is already in place, you have a team capable of challenging the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Dion Waiters Jarrett Jack Luol Deng

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