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Section 109: Comparing Zydrunas Trade Rumors — And Starting One

January 18, 2010
© 2010 Dan Goldberg
Can the Cavs make a deal before the trade deadline using Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his expiring contract? The most popular rumors have Z going to Washington for Antwan Jamison or New Orleans for David West. Which deal makes more sense?
Let’s look at New Orleans first. I can’t see the Hornets giving up David West. He and Chris Paul are the core guys on the team. The Hornets’ big useless contract is Stojakovic, who is overpaid at $14m. No one wants that, and he’s got another year coming at $15m. The other big contract they have is Emeka Okafor, who has four years left at $11.5-$14.5m on a contract he signed with the Bobcats. That’s significant, because his salary is closer to Z’s, and remember you have to match dollars within 20 percent. Okafor’s contract is probably too long and high for most teams. For the Cavs, too — Okafor would help, but he’s not the best fit at this point. He’s kind of another flavor of Varejao.
Apparently, New Orleans is only interested in gettting under the line for the luxury tax, and they’re less than $1m away. It makes more sense for them to trade a bench contributor like Darius Songaila, who only makes about $4m, which would make it easier to create a deal. David West makes $9m and that means the Hornets would have to add a player, or other considerations, to add up the Z salary number of $11.5m. Even if the Hornets are that desperate to reduce payroll, West isn’t the best way. In addition, he’s only got one more year at about the same rate. They would do better to try and extend him this year and try to deal Predrag or Okafor somehow.
Antwan Jamison, on the other hand, is a much simpler deal. He’s a great fit from a talent perspective and is almost a straight salary match with Z.
Let’s throw another monkey wrench into the works. Another power forward who has 20 & 10 numbers and is a constant trade rumor is — Carlos Boozer. He’s a straight salary match and is in his last year. If you’re going to rent Jamison to get to the finals, why not Boozer? He’s five years younger and if he doesn’t work out you’re not on the hook for $14m next year. Some people hate Carlos for ditching Cleveland, but I want a championship more than I want to enjoy being spiteful towards a player. The only issue here? The Jazz might want to keep Z to help them make the playoffs this year.
The Z to Wizards deal is most likely, I think. The trick is, in either case, I don’t believe under NBA rules buyouts can be negotiated as part of a trade. You have to hope the other team intends to buy out your guy, and he wants to re-sign with you. What if Z gets pissed about being traded? He doesn’t have to re-sign. What if the Wizards turn around and retrade Z at the deadline? Most GMs wouldn’t dare do that and risk not making a deal with Ferry ever again, but you never know.
All this contract crap makes standing pat look real attractive.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 3:06 pm

    I love your line ”another flavor of Varejao“. I have no problem with ”Varejao Classic“. Boozer would be great and I think all he’d have to do is say a few right things and play well and nobody’d care about leaving.

    I have to say, I am amazed by your grasp of the mysteries of NBA dealmaking. Maybe you could help Milton Bradley negotiate his next condo deal?

    • Dan permalink*
      January 18, 2010 11:37 pm

      Maybe I could negotiate something between him and Albert Belle!

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