For those Cavs fans who want to go a bit past the surface of any move the Cavs make, and I know there are many, you had better start listening carefully to our new GM. If you only go out and read press articles and national sports media pundits, you will get a very narrow view of any moves the Cavs make. I have found that to be especially true since the reaction to Grant being fired and the reaction to the latest Cavs trade. The views out there are very narrow and sometimes shallow. Right now, I only get reasonable depth from Jason Lloyd who has definitely gone below the surface to give us a feel for what has gone on behind the scenes. I don’t mean this article to be about the press. And I don’t mean this article to contrast myself against bloggers who are very different from the press and always go into more depth. That is part of the beauty of bloggers. But I do want to carry the theme I began with my last blog about Dan Gilbert making the exact right move by firing Grant. I also took a little heat because that was kind of long and I was too detailed with my explanations. I will correct that here.
The logic outside is that the Cavs are taking pot shots in the dark to try and make the playoffs this year because Dan Gilbert wants it that way. Then it follows in their logic that these moves have no positive long term effects and definite long term negatives because we are trading a bunch of second round picks and losing assets for expiring contracts. Further, some would say that by not “tanking” for the fourth straight year, the Cavs are missing a golden opportunity in a decent draft to get back in the high lottery. While all of these views have some merit, I believe they are over simplistic views of the depth behind the Cavs management’s thinking. I am personally very impressed. They have finally used assets to learn more about the current team that has underperformed terribly this year (and probably the past two years). This will be invaluable going forward and cannot be underestimated.
The neatest thing about all of this is that David Griffin has laid it all out there for you to see and, frankly, the rest of the league if they are paying attention. Grant was always so darned guarded that he rarely gave us even a peak at their real thinking. He may have been just as secret with his own players and that is a tragic mistake if true. Now Griffin is not spewing detailed strategy but is telling the truth in small tidbits. The rest of this blog is simply decoding those tidbits as it relates to this exact trade and the Cavs acquisition philosophy. All of this came from Griffin’s press conference.
The Hawes trade:
1) Hawes is a rare 7 footer that can stretch the floor effectively. Not even close to a perfect player (defense ugh) but only 25.
2) The Cavs have had no one over the past three years that can actually stretch the floor as a big. Most successful teams have a “stretch” big man.
3) With our team composition, we are losing valuable offensive opportunities because we allow teams to clog the paint and reduce the impact of our dynamic penetrators Kyrie and Dion.
4) Because of our team composition we are losing opportunities for our cutting, open floor type players like Deng, Miles, and even TT.
5) By adding Hawes they now have a chance to learn first hand if adding a stretch big and spacing the floor better improves the effectiveness of our dynamic drive and kick potential.
6) You don’t need to ask now whether or not they want to consider keeping Hawes because that will become apparent when you see what effect he has on our whole team going forward. If not much, bye bye. If fantastic improvement, stay, stay. If some measurable improvement, look for another one if you want.
7) Second round picks, despite the new CBA, are still just second round picks and should be used to acquire assets that can potentially advance your team.
8) No mention was made of what players we gave up so you can translate that easily…. nothing.
The Cavs philosophy:
1) We want to get better and making the playoffs might signify that but neither the Deng or the Hawes moves were intended to reach a playoffs or bust mandate that has been widely speculated because of Gilbert’s early expectations.
2) Both the Deng and Hawes acquisitions were actually to add a quality piece that has been missing from the Cavs for every year since LeBron left… A real small forward and a real stretch big (sorry Antwan Jamison… your shooting was not that good.)
3) The Cavs made a conscious decision to get assets that had been clearly missing over those years to see if they could elevate the Cavs awful play. When Deng worked out so poorly because his slashing game was negated by our bigs (except Andy), we added a stretch big.
4) By testing the way they did with quality expiring contracts, they have not really impacted the substantial cap flexibility we had worked so hard to gain. Still leaving the door open to sign one or both players again depending on their contributions on the court. Or simply letting them go knowing they had to fill that void with someone else soon.
5) In fact, if you add it up, we probably have gained a little cap flexibility (but not much)
6) Griffin talked to Deng and several Cavs players today before the moves were announced. He is trying to be more open and transparent and it is obvious. Grant never stated he talked to any player before a trade was made or immediately after (unless they were in the trade).
7) This team could not afford to draft 4 rookies next year by using three second round picks. So by keeping the best two and divesting the others, they have done little to hurt the team. If you think we could have moved up into the first round with those this year, I don’t think so.
GO CAVS !!!!! Here’s hoping this addition will work out. If for no other reason then seeing how the current team will respond with proper pieces, it was worth the cost.