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Section 109: Deadline Fever Builds, Wizards Break Down.

January 7, 2010

Teams had to decide this week whether to guarantee the contracts of their benchwarmers or waive them. The Cavs said goodbye to Coby Karl. In some cases, teams are trying to save a buck (hello Donald Sterling, George Shinn). In others, teams want to free up a roster spot for the impending flurry of deals before the trade deadline, only six weeks from now.

So now the Cavs have an open roster spot. Coincidentally, the hopeless Wizards are in town and many NBA fans are wondering if the Arenas/Butler/Jamison era is over — and Cavs fans are wondering, “can we get our hands on Jamison?”

The same conversations come up around Chris Bosh: “Oh, he deserves to play for a winner. He needs to get out of Toronto. He should be on our team. Wait till free agency.”

So the question is, can the Cavs get one of these guys midseason? I don’t think it will happen. Hickson and Andy would be the guys either team would ask for, because both the Craptors and the Wizards have lackluster post games.

Hickson is too raw to trade straight up for an all-star like Bosh, so who else do you throw in with him? Not Coby Karl. Gibson? Before we get too involved with a package, keep in mind J.J. has a tremendous upside, and you want to have young guys like that developing around LeBron.

Andy is someone the Cavs need to hang on to for this season, because he can play the post as well as the four spot. They need a good option for any time nagging injuries might hamper Z/Shaq. Varejao could be one of the Cavs’ centers next year, too, if they decide not to re-up Z and/or Shaq, or if one/both of them retires. The only other option is offering Z in a trade for CB, and he could help the Craptors. But again, I don’t see a straight up trade of Z for CB, so who do the Cavs throw in?

The real issue with Jamison is he’s got 11 NBA seasons on his body and is owed $13m and $15m in the next two years. Bosh, on the other hand, is the same age as LeBron, but the real issue with him is he only has a player option at $17m for next year. Who knows what his agenda is for next season? I hope it includes signing with Cleveland this summer.

Bottom line: why would you shake up the chemistry on a team that is 28-9 and has the second-best record in the league, to get either of these guys? No knock against either of them, but if you have to give up productive Cavs players to get them, it’s a risk at mid-season. Look how shaky the Cavs were at the start of the season after adding Shaq, AP and Moon.

POSTSCRIPT: Everyone outside of Cleveland is so concerned about where LeBron might go, and they never talk about what top free agents might be excited to come and play next to LeBron in Cleveland, for one of the best organizations in the league right now. Cleveland will be out from under Shaq’s $20m salary, so they could offer it to Bosh. Andy could move to center if he’s still in Cleveland. How do you like a starting front line of Andy V, Bosh and LeBron?

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