NBA Roundtable

Cavs Need Power Forward

In Trade Talk on October 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

The Cleveland Cavaliers need a power forward who can play above average defense and in particular play defense out on the perimeter while also supplying good jump shooting, preferably three point shooting ability. They need this skill-set to make their offense and their defensive more cohesive after the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal.

This is a rare mix of skills and is thus hard to find. So let’s have a look around the league and eye up some of the potential targets:

Power forwards who are above average defenders who can play defense on the perimeter and can shoot the ball reasonably well:

  • Atlanta — nobody (Marvin Williams?)
  • Boston — KG
  • Charlotte — Boris Diaw
  • Cleveland — nobody (James)
  • Chicago — Luol Deng
  • Dallas — Shawn Marion
  • Denver — nobody
  • Detroit — nobody
  • Golden State — nobody
  • Houston — nobody
  • Indiana — nobody
  • LA Clippers — nobody
  • LA Lakers — Lamar Odom (Artest?)
  • Memphis — nobody
  • Miami — nobody (Haslem?)
  • Milwaukee — nobody
  • Minnesota — nobody
  • New Orleans — nobody (West?)
  • New Jersey — nobody
  • New York — Al Harrington
  • Orlando — Rashard Lewis (Bass?)
  • Philadelphia — Thaddeus Young
  • Portland — nobody (Outlaw?)
  • Phoenix — nobody (Clark?)
  • Sacramento — nobody
  • San Antonio — nobody (McDyess?)
  • Toronto — nobody
  • Utah — Andrei Kirilenko
  • Washington — nobody

The problem with the search is the combination of skills. Both the defensive ability and the offensive ability. There are a lot of players who have good skills on one side of the ball at the position but only a few who can play both ends of the court at a good level.

So our list of established weapons at the four are:

  • Kevin Garnett
  • Rashard Lewis
  • Lamar Odom
  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Shawn Marion
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Boris Diaw
  • Al Harrington
  • Luol Deng

Plus some other possibilities would be (concerns in bracket)

  • Brandon Bass (shooting range)
  • Antonio McDyess (shooting range)
  • Earl Clark (unproven)
  • Ron Artest (rebounding)
  • Travis Outlaw (defense + rebounding)
  • Jeff Green (defense + rebounding)
  • David West (defense)
  • Marvin Williams (rebounding + defense) … hmm, Marvin may be okay for the tier above. I’ll have to ponder that some more.
  • James Posey (age + minutes playable)
  • Andres Nocioni (defense + rebounding)
  • Udonis Haslem (shooting)


Okay, so we have nine/ten proven players that provide the skills Cleveland is looking for and ten/eleven incomplete but solid options.

Are any of those teams prepared to part with those players for less than a star studded trade package?

  • Kevin Garnett — Boston will not trade him. Especially not to the Cavs.
  • Lamar Odom — Lakers will not trade him. Especially not to the Cavs.
  • Rashard Lewis — Magic will not trade him. Especially not to the Cavs.
  • Andrei Kirilenko — possibility. Not a definite but a maybe. His contract is very poor, he’s underperforming at the small forward spot, and Utah has huge cap concerns. Plus Kirilenko and Brewer haven’t been able to play alongside one another yet (if Brewer’s jumper is improved like it supposedly is, then this is no long an issue). Getting out from underneath his contract could be good for the Jazz.
  • Shawn Marion — Dallas would trade Marion but only for talent, and Cleveland doesn’t have talent to give away.
  • Thaddeus Young — The Sixers view Young as a potential All-Star who can be there in Phily for another decade. They’re not giving him up without getting something comparable in return.
  • Boris Diaw — Diaw is a huge part of the Bobcats team but his squad is struggling for mediocrity and losing $20 million a year. Getting out of his contract a year early and getting some cap flexibility is a very good option for the Bobcats. I’m not convinced their management understands this though, so it’s hard to say whether he’d be available or not.
  • Al Harrington — Knicks are playing to win. Plus they don’t want to help the Cavs keep LeBron in town. They’d need a better talent in return for Al Harrington, and the Cavs don’t have that to give away.
  • Luol Deng — Deng has a questionable contract and the Bulls are planning on big players in the free agent market. They could make an even larger splash by removing his contract from the books. Possibly, but probably not. It’s a tough sell to give up a good young player like Deng for very little talent in return.
  • Marvin Williams — The Hawks won’t give up Williams without getting another young talent with comparable ability. Plus they don’t want to break up their young core, or help a conference rival.

Three maybes … that the Cavs could possibility acquire. The rest were ruled out for one reason or another. As for the rest of the field:

  • Brandon Bass — Magic won’t trade him to Cleveland (Delonte West? a lead backup guard to finish off their bench? If Ryan Anderson wins the backup PF spot? Eh, maybe, probably not though. Things need to happen before this becomes a possibility)
  • Ron Artest — Lakers won’t trade him.
  • Antonio McDyess — San Antonio won’t trade him.
  • Earl Clark — Suns aren’t giving up a lottery pick for little in return.
  • Travis Outlaw — The Blazers love their bench right now. They aren’t splitting up their young players without getting a star who helps them win.
  • Jeff Green — The Thunder aren’t giving up one of their building blocks without getting one back in return.
  • David West — The Hornets second or third best player. He’s on a good contract and the team is trying to win, and has no hope of cap space next season.
  • James Posey — He would only be a stop gap signing but he’d do the job. The Hornets would want some talent in return for Posey, but they may be interested in a Delonte West trade package.
  • Udonis Haslem — The Heat would only trade Haslem for talent. Would the Heat be interested in Ilgauskas? Put Jermaine at the four. Then the Beasley issue of playing time resurfaces. I don’t think so.
  • Andres Nocioni — The Kings would part with him but I’m not sure he’s good enough to make major inroads on the Cavs difficulties.

Okay, so only one/two of the lesser options is possibly available to the Cavs.

The Four Options

The Cavs four options are:

  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Boris Diaw
  • Luol Deng
  • James Posey

The Other Option

LeBron James can play the power forward position at a very high level offensively and defensively. The Cavs can use him at that spot and eliminate this need.

That would in turn create another need — for an improved option on the wing — which would have to be acquired in a trade. But that need will be easier to fill than the perimeter orientated power forward who can play good defense.

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