NBA Roundtable

Jamison To Cleveland

In Trade Talk on February 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Adrian Wojnarowski reports

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached agreement on a six-player, three-team trade that lands them former All-Star forward Antawn Jamison, league sources with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports.

The Cavaliers are sending center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a first-round pick to the Wizards. The Wizards also will receive Brian Skinner and Al Thornton from the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers will get point guard Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers. The Wizards will send Drew Gooden to the Clippers.

Wojnarowski credits the Washington Post for being the first to break the story — link to that report.

Players Involved

Cleveland acquires — Antawn Jamison + Sebastian Telfair

LA Clippers acquire –Drew Gooden

Washington acquires — Zydrunas Ilgauskas + Al Thornton + Brian Skinner + the Cavs 2010 first round draft pick + draft rights to Emir Preldzic

Thoughts On Trade

LA Clippers

First reaction — Not a good trade for the Clippers.

Al Thornton

They didn’t get any value for Al Thornton which is surprising. I thought they could have gotten a late first round pick for him. Or least a pair of early-to-mid second round draft picks. Instead, they’ve gotten nothing more than a two month rental in Drew Gooden.

Telfair + Cap Space

Removing Sebastian Telfair’s contract is a nice move which adds about $2 million more in cap space to the Clippers war chest.

That leaves with them with about $40-41 million on the books entering the summer which means they’ll have $10-13 million in cap space.

Not enough to make a run at a max contract free agent from LeBron’s draft class or older but enough, if they get a high cap, to make a run at someone like Rudy Gay on a max contract.

Edit: Sorry, my mistake, I was forgetting about Al Thornton. That is another $2.8 million. So a total of $5.5 million less the cap holds for replacement roster spots is a little over $4.5 million in extra cap space.

That means the Clippers will have around $38 million on their cap after counting contracts + cap holds for lottery pick + empty roster spots. That would leave the Clippers with between $13.5-to-$16 million in cap space. Not quite enough for a max contract but they would be very close if they received a high cap figure.

The Clippers could trade their 2010 lottery pick for someone’s 2011 lottery pick. Avoid the cap hold and have enough room for a max contract free agent while retaining Griffin + Baron + Kaman + Gordon.


Brian Skinner was a good fifth big in the rotation and a serviceable fourth big in the rotation. He was a lowly paid player who was likely there for this season so he’s fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

And, in the short term, with Drew Gooden arriving he was no longer a rotation player for the Clippers. So entirely irrelevant.

Drew Gooden

Drew Gooden will likely start at power forward alongside Chris Kaman with Craig Smith reverting back to his first big off the bench role and DeAndre Jordan cleaning up the remaining minutes.

If the Clippers need another big to provide some insurance for those four they’ll be able to acquire one through free agency on a minimum contract.

As for Gooden, he’ll supply the Clippers with good-to-very good rebounding + solid scoring potential but not overly efficient + poor defensive play.

I was about to say Gooden is a good post scorer so he’ll fit in well with Mike Dunleavy but he’s not longer the coach. Anyway, Gooden will give the Clippers a good fourth scoring option out there on the floor and supply a solid midrange jumper + pick and roll play + some post scoring.

Drew Gooden is a very good addition to the Clippers who will make a considerable impact at the club over the next two months.

That said, Gooden doesn’t appear to be in their long term plans so he is nothing more than a rental player. They sacrificed Al Thornton for a rental.

Update: Initial reports of Gooden asking for a buyout were incorrect. Chris Mannix reports that Gooden is happy to stay with the Clippers

Drew Gooden will likely finish the season with the LA Clippers, source tells SI. Gooden had sought a buyout with Wizards but OK with LA.


I may have been too harsh at the beginning. I was disappointed that the Clippers didn’t pick up a long term asset, a draft pick, for Al Thornton and felt they could have done better in that regard.

However, removing Telfair’s contract from the cap does have benefits and if used correctly could create just as much, possibly more, of an opportunity for the Clippers than the pick could have.

Plus they got a solid rotation player in Drew Gooden for the interim period.

So overall, this was a good trade for the Clippers.

Washington Wizards

Ilgauskas and Skinner

Both players are likely to be bought out over the next few days.

Zydrunas Ilguaskas will wait 30 days and then return to the Cavaliers for the veterans minimum.

Brian Skinner will enter free agency and it’s 50-50 whether he gets back in the league before the season ends. Skinner is not a rotation caliber player but he is a good insurance policy, as a fifth or sixth big man on the depth chart, and could help someone in that role. He is a solid defender and a good-to-very good rebounder.

Al Thornton + McGuire

Does this spell the end of Dominic McGuire’s stay with the Wizards?

If it does, then McGuire becomes an excellent low priced prospect in this summer’s free agent class. Someone who signs him to a two year deal at close to the minimum and tries to develop him could get one heck of a player in due time.

I prefer McGuire over Thornton as a prospect. I think McGuire is an excellent rebounder who plays below average but serviceable defense but has excellent defensive potential. Offensively, he has a decently well-rounded game with his ball handling, passing and slashing. An improved jumper would go a long way though. McGuire is also a very good athlete who is capable of playing both wing positions and some time at power forward (defending some point guards too). He is also a fine young man with a terrific work ethic.

If McGuire is developed well then he could become an elite role player in this league. Somewhat similar to where Trevor Ariza was when he was with the Knicks.

Meanwhile, Al Thornton is a poor player but a solid prospect. He is a poor defender + poor rebounder + very poor passer and I’m don’t think he has much potential in any of those categories. He is also solid at creating his own offense but remains inefficient due to his inability to get to the foul line + lack of a range on his jumper. Leads to a lot of contested two point jump shots. Also, his scoring doesn’t come in the flow of the offense so he can be disruptive to his teammates.

Anyway, if Thornton gets his defense + rebounding up to serviceable levels + if Thornton improves his shot selection, Thornton could then become a solid go-to scorer off the bench in a sixth man type role.

Given his age (26) + his heavy does of playing time already + lack of improvement … those are some very big “ifs”.

Wing Rotation

  • Mike Miller — best player on roster
  • Josh Howard
  • Nick Young
  • Al Thornton
  • Dominic McGuire

Mike Miller and Josh Howard will likely both receive 33-35 minutes a night as starters with Thornton + Young splitting the remaining minutes.

I would rather see Nick Young start and have his development prioritized out on the wing. That means minutes + touches + shot attempts. He could become a 17-20ppg scorer in starters minutes and that would improve both his development + trade value no end.

I don’t really care about Al Thornton’s development. Washington could commit to it but they’d need to trade Mike Miller or Josh Howard (likely Miller) in order to create enough minutes for Thornton + Young + one of Howard/Miller. That is unlikely to happen.

Dominic McGuire is unlikely to play.

First Round Pick

This will likely be the 3oth pick in the draft this June. Still, it’s nice to get another long term asset.


The Wizards have one definite long term asset with the draft pick and one potential long term asset in Al Thornton. That, along with the cap space that they received is a nice package for Antawn Jamison.

Excellent trade for Washington. They’ve finally committed to rebuilding and to turning around their franchise and they’re doing it the right way too.

Impressive moves from Ernie Grunfeld at the trade deadline.

Now if he could trade Mike Miller for some type of future assets … that would just be the icing on the cake.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Sebastian Telfair

Telfair is entirely irrelevant. He is fourth on the depth chart at point guard behind Mo Williams, Delonte West and Daniel Gibson.

Telfair is a poor fit on the Cavs because his lack of shooting ability and lack of defensive/rebounding ability. He doesn’t provide anything different, or an improvement on, any of the other options at point guard.

Cleveland will be better off using LeBron at the point and playing another wing instead of Telfair. Even if that means Jawad Williams gets the playing time.

Antawn Jamison

The man of the moment. The twenty point per game threat that gives LeBron a legitimate sidekick. The final addition to the offense that makes Cleveland a very good-to-elite offensive team in addition to their impressive defense + board work.

The piece that creates some distance between Cleveland and the other contenders in the Conference. The piece that makes them the favourites (?) for the title this season.

Scoring Options

#1 — LeBron James — the ultimate go-to creative force offensively in the NBA today. Both an excellent scorer and an excellent passer/playmaker.

#2 — Antawn Jamison — ideally a third scoring option due to his lack of efficiency but Jamison will make a solid second scoring option here in Cleveland because of James’ brilliance + the depth of scoring options behind him.

#3 — Mo Williams — a good third scoring option who can provide 15-17ppg on good efficiency and is a dead-eye jump shooter

#4 — Shaquille O’Neal — brute force in the paint who can give 8-12 points a game while playing 24-29 minutes a night.

#5 — Delonte West — the fifth best offensive player on the roster due to his shooting ability, ball handling ability, and passing ability. Excellent efficiency.

#6 — Anthony Parker — a complementary shooter with great efficiency

#7 — Zydrunas Ilguaskas — a jump shooting 7-3 center who is dangerous in pick and pop situations + on the high post providing spacing. A different sort of weapon to Shaq which forces the opposition to change up their defensive strategies depending on who is in the game.

#8 — Anderson Varejao — an effective + efficient garbage man offensively.

#9 — Daniel Gibson — a marksman jump shooter

#10 — Jamario Moon — A serviceable jump shooter + an excellent finisher

#11 — JJ Hickson — 11th because he’s unlikely to see much playing time anymore but he is a good finisher around the rim, efficient, plus has a developing stand still jump shot. Nice prospect offensively.

Cavs Offense

As you can clearly see, the Cavaliers now have a multitude of options offensively. They will become an elite offensively team due to

  • LeBron’s brilliance
  • The number of go-to scorers — Jamison, Mo, Shaq
  • Scoring versatility — all the different ways they have of scoring either in the post, isolations, with midrange jumpers, three point threats, dribble penetration, transition offense.
  • An excellent efficient supporting cast who can stretch the floor

Jamison’s Defense

Antawn Jamison is a very poor defender particularly with his team defense because of his poor anticipation + response to dangerous situations. He is regularly in an incorrect position to provide effect help defense.

Jamison will be added to a big man rotation that includes Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilguaskas. Two big men with serious defensive flaws due their lack of quickness. Players who struggle in transition, in pick and rolls, and against bigs who step out away from the rim. Antawn Jamison’s poor defensive play makes the Cavs frontline more vulnerable.

Normally, I would be quite worried about that mix of defensive weaknesses but I have such a large amount of trust in Mike Brown — who I consider the best defensive minded head coach in the NBA for several years now — that I expect Brown to find a way to make it work.

It’ll still have it’s weaknesses and be vulnerable but I expect Mike Brown to minimize them.

If Mike Brown can improve Jamison’s defense, and I think there’s a fair chance of that happening, then a LeBron James + Antawn Jamison + Anderson Varejao frontcourt will be quite effective against teams who are troubling the Cavs slow footed defensive centers.

Eastern Conference

The Cavaliers had become the frontrunner in the Eastern Conference already due to their strong play + Jameer Nelson’s and Vince Carter’s poor play in Orlando + Boston’s inconsistent play due to health.

Now, with the addition of Jamison, the Cavs have turned that small advantage into a large one and have clearly separated themselves from the pack.

They are the team to beat in the East. They are extremely likely to win the East.


Solid trade for the Los Angeles Clippers because of added cap flexibility + addition of Drew Gooden.

Excellent trade for the Washington Wizards due to cap space + entered into proper rebuilding mode + 1/2 future assets.

Excellent trade for the Cleveland Cavaliers because they have the final piece to their offense, to give them an elite offense and thus make them the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

  1. On another note, I think the Cavaliers may have just lost their advantage against the Lakers.

    I think Jamison’s poor individual defense and inability to cover Pau Gasol gives the Lakers a major advantage and puts them back in the driver’s seat against Cleveland.

    It’s a pity these two teams have already finished their regular season games against one another. It would have been brilliant to see this new Cavaliers team take on the Lakers to see how they matchup against one another.

    Edit: Pau Gasol had almost as large an advantage against JJ Hickson but Jamison will play a lot more minutes (32-38) than Hickson does (16-21). That leaves a matchup advantage out there for longer for LA and I think they’ll take better advantage of it as a result.

  2. Imagine if Washington can get future assets + a similar expiring for Miller and Arena’s contract is voided. Best cap situation in the league and they could literally rebuild their team overnight!

  3. Btw, i really hope miami gets Amar’e because it takes them out of the Bosh sweepsake next offseason.

  4. Hey Dino Gunners,

    Great point on Chris Bosh. Definitely something (Amare to Miami) that all Raptors fans should be hoping for.

    That would leave Chicago, NY and NJ as the only non-Raptors max contract offers out there. Outside of a sign and trade.

    And only the Bulls offer a better core to build around … a better chance of winning a Championship.

  5. Wizards Luxury Tax

    From John Hollinger’s chat when asked if there’s any chance the Wizards refuse to buyout Ilgauskas.

    put it to you this way: Wiz are 843K over the luxury tax line right now. After 3 PM today, only way they can get under is to buy out Z for less than his current cap #. So the Wiz have about 5 million reasons to work a buyout.

    (1) This is excellent news for Cleveland + whatever other team is hoping to pursue him

    (2) Nice to hear the Wizards are going to get below the luxury tax after all of their moves.

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