As Cavs fans, we can't have everything we want all the time. If we want a team that can rip off a 13-game winning streak, we're going to have to be able to handle a 3-game slide every couple years. If we want a team that's willing to add a significant piece at the deadline, we're going to have to be patient enough to allow that guy to get acclimated. Additionally, for the time being it seems, if we want the five best players on the floor at the same time, we're going to have to wait until the last five minutes of games to see it...because they still don't start.Antawn Jamison was a step in the right direction though tonight, don't get me wrong, but I'd like to see the Cavs take one more in starting Delonte as well.
The fourth installment of our series Hooping on Foreign Hardwoods checks in with ex-Cavaliers guard Smush Parker. For part one of our series featuring Damon Jones, click here. For part two, featuring Luke Jackson, click here. For part three featuring Ira Newble, click here.
Hooping on Foreign Hardwoods: William Henry "Smush" Parker
Smush Parker was signed by the Cavaliers as a free agent during his rookie year in September of 2002. He played 66 games for the Cavs during the '02-03 season, and started 18 of them. During that year - his only one as a Cavalier - he scored 6 points per game to go along with 2.5 assists over an average of 18 minutes per night.
He would continue to bounce around the NBA for another handful of seasons, and the highlight of his career would be the stretch of games - starting in 2005 - where Smush started 162 straight games for the Lakers and averaged 11.5 ppg. He ended up making a couple more NBA stops before going overseas after a contract dispute with the Heat sent him looking for work elsewhere.Elsewhere for Smush would be China, and he signed with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association in January of last year.
I'm by no means worried about the Cavaliers current three game losing streak. The Cavs beat the Magic the first two times they played this season, and to expect a season sweep of Orlando would be a bit greedy, especially while trying to work Jamison in on the fly. And while the loss today was disappointing, there were certainly some positive developments, of which I'll get to below. But first, I have to say this: its time for Anthony Parker to do what he was brought in to do for this team - provide depth at the guard position...off the bench.
Delonte for Parker:
With all this change going on as the Cavaliers re-assmeble for the stretch-run, you might as well make one more now and go with it: re-insert Delonte West into the starting line-up. He played 35 minutes a game last season, and if the Cavaliers are going to get where they need to go this time, he needs to play those minutes again...and play them like he did last year.
The Magic bigs didn't beat the Cavaliers today - like they did in the ECF - the guards did.
Editor's note: Not much we wanted to say about Friday's loss to the Bobcats. For a reaction to last night's game, check out KingJamesGospel's right here, or WFNY's here. And while we are confident the Cavs will right the ship, we thought the NBA needed some help on the dunk contest...
1.) Let the fans vote in 4 dunkers...
Pros of this are that they get to see who they want dunk. Obviously, this needs to be limited by the NBA to a realistic number of interested options, and the players need to have a drop dead date where they can pull out of the event.
The cons are that the fans are stupid enough to vote Iverson and McGrady onto the all star team, can’t wait to see who they vote in to dunk!
2.) Have an online dunker get to enter, would be voted in based on youtube videos...
Videos would have to be qualified: court, hoop height, date, etc. to be legit and to be entered. Playgrounds and gyms all over the place would be hopping with dunkers and their camera crews.
3.) Up the ante for the competition...
Give a legitimate amount of cash to the winner. I don’t care if it comes from a sponsor, or David Stern’s pocket. All NBA players are money hungry, so this might give them some incentive to dunk.
4.) Get involvement from elsewhere...
Olympic High Jumpers, Professional volleyball players (although Karch Kiraly already nailed the spike-dunk), NFL guys, Euroleague players, NBDL players, whoever. The more people in the contest, the more originality it will bring.
5.) In the finals have a type of follow the leader sequence...
First dunk, player, no props. Second dunk, player with props (teammate or wardrobe).
Third dunk, follow the leader, just like horse. Winner of first 2 rounds to lead round three. Judging happens after each round, not after each dunk.
Sandy Dover, proprietor of Slam Online's San Dova Speakeasy, took a timeout over the weekend to talk all things Cavaliers, Cleveland, and Stepien Rules with me - here - in an interview that ran this afternoon. To check out the exchange, click on the link below:Slam Online regularly, Sandy is also a novelist, writer, and the unofficial president of the Jimmy Jackson fan club.
If you have a chance, drop into the Cavs Live Game Chat at Cleveland.com tonight with me, Mike from Cavs HQ, Dan Labbe from Cleveland.com, and Cavs fans worldwide.
Cavs fall to Nuggets 118-116
The Cavaliers won 13-straight games with Zydrunas Ilgauskas wearing Wine and Gold and now he's gone, and they lose. Coincidence? Correct, none whatsoever. Truth is you had to kinda had to see this loss coming a bit. Coming off the All Star break, with all the excitement of adding Sebastain Telfair Antawn Jamison going on, it had to be harder than other nights to come out focused, and to be so for a team that could very well win the Western Conference. Sure the Nuggets will probably end up losing out the Lakers, but they're definetely a team that's a contender, and the Cavs did not come out prepared to play a team like that tonight. And there's a lot of other reasons why in addition to the ones I mentioned: Mo's first game back, working Delonte back in, Mike Brown's anxiety attack of how to work Jamison into the rotation even without Jamison in uniform, as well as 16 bricks from three-point land and a dagger shot by 'Melo, and that's what you get, the 12th loss of the year.As far as that anixiety attack, allow me to clarify. I'm a guy that's defended Mike Brown consistently on this site, however, here's what I didn't like seeing tonight. Number one, you have a guy like Jamario Moon on your team to match up with teams like the Nuggets. If there is a team in the league he matches up best with its the Nuggets. And he didn't play. At all. I would have liked to see him in over Anthony Parker late, and I don't see how he doesn't help on the glass (where the Cavs were out-rebounded by 4), as well as against a guy like J.R. Smith for example (who scored 14).
He's the guy I wanted all along, and if I had to bet money I'd say he's the guy Ferry wanted from the beginning too: Antawn Jamison.
Just updated on Brian Windhorst's twitter account is the following:
"Washington Post Reports the Cavs have traded for Antawn Jamison."
photo credit: cleveland.com
As far as what the Wizards will get back, Wizards beat reporter Michael Lee posted the following on his twitter account:
"Wizards are believed to be getting back Zydrunas Ilgauskas & a 1st round pick, according to the source."
And in conclusion...According to Y! Adrian Wojnarowski's twitter account:
"Cavs get Jamison and Telfair, Clippers get Drew Gooden and Wash gets Illgauskas, Al Thornton and Brian Skinner and Cavs 1st round pick."
So that's the Cavs trading Z and a 1st round pick, and getting back Antawn Jamsion and Telfair...and I'm a huge fan.
More on Telfair from Windy:
"Telfair on last yr. of 2-yr, $3.5 million deal. Will be 3rd PG, same role Coby Karl & Cedric Jackson have been in this deal, Also, Telfair currently is recovering from a reputured groin muscle and is expected to be out another 1-3 weeks."
Reaction to the trade (updated at 8:58 pm):
The move Danny Ferry wanted the whole time is complete and he didn't have to trade a starter (JJ) to get it done. In fact, he didn't even have to trade a guy that plays half the game every night (Z - 20.5 mpg) to do it either. And to be honest, I don't really care about the 'Z was a loyal Cavalier arguement.' His loyalty was repaid to the tune of about $100 million over the course of his career, and truth be told, he still might come back anyways. But even if he doesn't, I'm okay with the price paid for a player in Jamison who I believe is the exact piece the Cavaliers could have added, he fits perfectly, there's no debate.
And I say the exact piece the Cavs 'could have added' because I still contend they could have made a run anyways without Jamison. But he helps, he helps a lot. Furthermore, if everything was equal, I would prefer having Jamsion on this Cavaliers team for the rest of this season over Amar'e Stoudemire anyways and there was never a part of me that even questioned that. And when I say over him, I mean straight up, if I could just pick, I'd take Jamsion over Amar'e everytime in that scenario, and despite things we may hear to the contrary, I firmly believe that was Danny Ferry's position the whole time too...just a guess though, he didn't tell me.
And the last point about the Cavaliers GM is this: Danny Ferry's a crook, and if I'm ever in the same room as him I'm leaving my wallet in the car. First he dumped Larry Hughes and got some value (Delonte) in return. Then he moves Damon Jones for Mo Williams, then Sasha and Ben for Shaq, and now Z (with the chance he comes back) for Jamison essentially. And now his work is done. As Gene Hackman once said, "my team is on the floor." The trade talk was fun, but title talk's better, and all the pieces are now - for the first time in the LeBron James era - in place. Its NBA title or bust time at this point, there are no more holes to fill.
Allow me to plug a couple of my recent posts seen elsewhere around the web:
Waiting For Next Year - Grading Daniel Gibson:
My friend Rick over at WFNY was nice enough to ask me to provide an All Star Break evaluation of Daniel Gibson over the weekend and I gladly obliged. My grade for Boobie, as well as comments on his play this season, can be found here. If you missed that Monday, as well as the previous installments of WFNY's Grading the Cavaliers series - featuring Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas - check those out as well by clicking here, here, here, and here. Those guys have a couple new ones today too, with more to follow.
Midwest Sports Fans - Mid-Major madness starts early as Butler downs CSU:
My credentialed coverage of the CSU Vikings continued over the weekend, and my latest offering on MSF discusses mid-major life in the NCAA in conjunction with the CSU - Butler game from this past Saturday. It can be found by clicking here. I'll be at the Toledo - CSU Bracketbuster game this weekend as well...look for that.
Chemistry questions if no deal gets done...
My reasons in past posts for the Cavaliers to stand pat at this trade deadline revolved around my thought that the Cavaliers would have to move too many pieces of an already potent puzzle to add a player of significant value to the mix. By significant value, I don't mean Troy Murphy and I don't mean Corey Maggette, but more like players on the level of an Amar'e Stoudemire or an Antawn Jamison. Even with the reports indicating that the Cavaliers could be able to move Hickson and Z for Stoudemire, I still don't see how that's enough for Phoenix to end up going for the deal - even if Danny Ferry and Steve Kerr are bff's. But at this point, whether a trade ends up happening or not, the Cavaliers team chemistry will be challenged.
There has been a lot of talk to not break up this current roster because of team chemistry. While I have not made that claim specifically, I do buy into that line of thinking to some extent, though its not a deal-breaker for me. That said, and just a question, if team chemistry is a concern of yours at this point, would it be fair to argue that even if no trade is made team chemistry has already been disrupted some? I mean, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and JJ Hickson read the same reports on Sunday morning that we all did: 'LeBron has signed off on the deal to trade his teammates Z and Hickson.'
Not that we should feel bad for these million dollar pros, but seven footers have feelings too you know. And not only did they read the report that said your teammate and friend LeBron James is making moves to get rid of you behind the scenes, they also heard as much from a reporter - in Windhorst - that they know personally and trust to be reporting the facts. That part of it is something you don't see often with professional sports trades - the best player on the team publicly lobbying to trade his teammates - and I wonder, what happens to the chemistry of that locker room if no deal ends up getting done. And oh yeah, if Z does get sent out to Phoenix, he's going to want those DVD's back for sure, and no more handshakes.
My trade deadline prediction...
The Chris Broussard's and Brian Windhorst's of the world aside, it seems to me what a lot of these other media members do come trade deadline time is simply make up predictions based on what they hear and read - same things we hear and read - and on the off-chance they're right its passed off as if they broke a story that nobody else had. Guess their mailman really is friends with Danny Ainge's doorman after all. So my sources aside, since I don't have any, I've offered my StepienRules prediction on the Cavs trade deadline below.I think the Cavaliers want Antawn Jamison first and foremost, and they would like to get him for the price that Danny Ferry pays for all his trade: nothing. To me, there's too many questions with Stoudemire - the main one of which being his contract status - for Ferry to be comfortable moving for him.
On Friday I managed to fully ignore some of the NBA trade rumors erupting off the twitter wire. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler to the Celtics for a box of basketballs being the main one. And you know who you are that reported that nonsense too. I won't put your name out there because you did write my favorite basketball book of all time about a basketball family from Jersey City, New Jersey, so we'll just decide to move forward as if that never happened...because that never did happen.
What did end up happening though, according to Cavaliers beat reporter Brian Windhorst, is that the Cavs have moved closer towards a deal with the Suns to bring Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland.
"Sources have indicated the Cavs have gotten "pretty far down the tracks" in talking to the Suns about Stoudemire. It has even gotten to the point that the sides have discussed small details like payment schedules and salary reimbursement options. At this time of year, because many contracts are pro-rated differently, there are such things to work out in a trade. Also, a source said that James has signed off on trading for Stoudemire."
Just a few hours ago, Brian updated that report in an interview with ESPN 850 WKNR by saying the proposed deal would involve the Cavaliers sending Zydrunas Ilgauskas and JJ Hickson to Phoenix for the services of the All Star Center Stoudemire.
He followed that interview up with a tweet saying that it won't happen today however, and the Cavaliers hope to hear back in the next couple days from Steve Kerr and the Phoenix Suns.
"Sources say no Stoudemire trade today, he’s playing in All-Star Gm for PHX after all. But Cavs hoping for yes or no by early in week."