Chalk Up One More Midseason Deal As a Bust

Monday, May 19, 2008

Because me being right so rarely seems to happen recently, I would like to harp on correct analysis from a couple of months ago. After the Cavs made their big 4 person trade I said that everybody was completely overrating Ben Wallace and that if anything the only improvements the Cavs got in that trade were Joe Smith and Delonte West. I said that Ben Wallace was not a very good basketball player and would do little to improve the Cavs, and I was completely right.

In 7 games against the Celtics Ben Wallace never cracked double digits in anything. In 7 games he only had two 9 rebound games and only totaled 41 rebounds in the 7 games. He additionally never scored 10 or more points in a game. He scored 9 once and only scored 22 points the entire series. In game 7 he scored 3 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes on the court. These are pitiful numbers. Does anybody honestly think Drew Gooden would have done worse? In the 2007 Finals in which the Cavs were swept Gooden had double digit points in all 4 games and double digit rebounds in 2 of the 4 games. He's a better basketball player than Ben Wallace.

The next highly spoke of player in the deal was Wally Szczerbiak, he scored in double figures in 5 of the 7 games and played some solid defense against Ray Allen. But what did he do in the most crucial game of the season? He laid a massive goose egg. Zero points, nada, nothing. 0-3 with 1 rebound and 2 turnovers. He played tremendous.

And the next player Joe Smith? He didn't do much in the series either. He had one game of double figures, game 3 when he scored 17 points in a Cavs blowout. He never grabbed more than a six rebounds in a game and never had more than a single assist in a game. In game 7 Smith had 6 points and 6 rebounds, not exactly game altering numbers.

The only player who had real impact on this series from the trade was the biggest after thought in the media Delonte West. West put together two 20+ point games and played over 40 minutes in each of the last three games. In the final game he had 15 points and 5 assists, both numbers were better than all the combined totals of Smith, Wally and Ben.

The biggest problem with this trade is that is was really a win now trade. Ben Wallace is not going to get any better. He will never be good on offense and his defense and rebounding are on the decline and he's signed for two more years at 14+ million dollars per. Wally only has the 08-09 season on the books but that is for 13 million dollars. Thus, the Cavs have absolutely no flexibility once again when it comes to roster maneuverability, meaning for two more seasons the Cavs roster will be the piano on Lebron's back weighing him down.

Posted by Simon at 9:30 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


As a Bulls fan, I was absolutely amazed that we found a sucker to take Big Ben's rotting corpse (and his contract) off our hands.

Derrick said...
2:19 PM  

No one is doubting Wallace's inefficiency. But Joe Smith did not get opportunities to score, or I believe he would have. He didn't have a great series against Washington, but he did do well with his minutes in Boston. He shot 62% averaging 7.6 pts and 4.8 boards in 21 minutes, and did a decent job of covering Garnett. They should have targeted him more often.

As for Wally, he'll make good trade bait with his expiring contract next year. With Joe Smith and Snow presumably retiring or being bought up, that will free up around 12.5 mil, offering hope that that can sign someone in the offseason.

Chris said...
2:20 PM  

The trade gives the Cavs great flexibility this offseason by adding Wally's large expiring contract ($12.2 mil, I think). Couple that with Damon Jones and Eric Snow's expiring deals and the Cavs should have some room to make a deal or two. Ben's contract is horrible, but he is a candidate to get bought out or at least dealt the following year leading up to Lebron's contract year

Brian said...
2:26 PM  

The trade did nothing to change their flexibility. Hughes deal is of the same length as Wallace's just less expensive.

Newble & Shannon Brown would be off the books this year just like Joe Smith.

Marshall, Simmons & Gooden's contracts are all off the books after the 08/09 season and their salaries just about match Wally's.

They essentially lumped Wally's expiring deal from 3 different expiring deals. That doesn't necessarily make it easier to deal.

Simon said...
2:34 PM  

As a Piston fan, I can only continue to thank da Bulls for offering that ridiculous contract in the 1st place.

tbliggins said...
2:53 PM  

Brian, fact is we made some changes and brought in some pieces and maybe it didn't work out perfectly but West was a nice surprise and he is young. At the same time, we didn't forgo our expirings to do it. So arguably we're in a better situation.

Anonymous said...
3:11 PM  

come on. ben wallace played fine defense on garnett during the series, and helped spark the team in the early stages of game 5. to even point out that he never reached double digits in points shows a lack of understand of his role. granted he is not the rebounder he once was, but he gave the cavaliers another big body to throw at garnett. do you think garnett would have been similarly slowed down by a combination of drew gooden and dwayne jones?

any cavs fan knew west was the best player for the cavs in the trade, addressing a long-term vacancy at point guard. to say now, after a tough 7 game series to the team with the best record in the conference, that the trade was a mistake is lazy and self-serving (its your blog, you are welcome to do it, but i am welcome to call you on it).

The Cavs before the trade were probably not getting out of round 1 vs. washington. After the trade they were a win away from a rematch with detroit that they would have been better prepared for than they were last year when they beat them. Wally stinks, thats obvious, and Ben is OLD, but you have to make moves to move up, especially when you dont have a first round pick and you have a superstar who has shown he is ready to win now. would you rather Ferry sits on his hands and does nothing while LeBron grows frustrated watching larry Hughes and Gooden fire up contested jumpshots? Come on. The trade was worth a shot, don't be salty that it turned out better than you thought (were you secretly hoing the cavs would lose so you could write this?)

Anonymous said...
3:17 PM  

Guess what genius. In order to make the contracts work because of Larry Hughes' enormous contract, we had to take Ben Wallace to get Delonte, Wally, and Joe Smith. It wasn't a simple case of one-for-one Ben Wallace for Drew Gooden. Plus, while Drew Gooden would've easily been able to put up Ben's scoring and rebounding numbers, it would've been laughable to see him try to play defense in the post against the Celtics.

Lincoln said...
3:22 PM  

They've beaten the Wizards multiple times in the past with the previous roster so to say they would have lost to the Wizards bares no weight.

Saying that the trade is the reason they made game 7 against the Celtics also doesn't have much weight as prior to the trade the Cavs were 2-1 against the Celtics. Losing once without Lebron and winning once when the Cs didn't have KG.

The trade simply shuffled around a bunch of players, and Ben Wallace didn't do anything and he was the piece many media members and fans were saying was going to put them over the edge.

All I said was that the players who improved them on the trade were West & Smith, but their improvements were not significant enough to do anything.

Simon said...
3:48 PM  

Some of us new Wallace was overated when he was in Detroit. Great call.

Anonymous said...
3:51 PM  

I really never knew Cavs fans were so defensive of their GM over a move which accomplished nothing and landed them a 33 year old 6-9 offensively deficient player with a bloated contract for 2 more years.

Should the Mavs be given credit for trying when they acquired Jason Kidd? Should the Suns be credited for acquiring Shaq? Why would this be any different?

The key piece in each trade was an aging veteran who will not get any better in the coming years and each trade lead to playoff results not improving from the previous season.

Simon said...
3:58 PM  

As a Cavs fan, this deal was still a good deal. They weren't going anywhere with Gooden and Hughes and likely would have lost in the first round.

Now, they have a pretty good PG and a huge bargaining chip for a Michael Redd trade.

GMoney said...
4:11 PM  

Do you honestly think that Michael Redd would put the Cavs over the edge?

Maybe I'm the pessimistic New Englander, but to me the Cavs are Championship or bust now. They have 2 more definite years of Lebron James. Perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel but I'm not seeing it.

I think there will be a backlash for deals like the Gasol deal. It makes your franchise look miserable. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think it's going to be difficult to get a bonafide Robin for Lebron with just Wally's expiring deal.

Simon said...
4:18 PM  

Also Delonte is a decent player. But he's no more an answer at point guard than Boobie Gibson was at shooting guard.

Simon said...
4:19 PM  

Interesting Fact: I did a little math, and the four guys the Cavs got in the trade did better in the playoffs this year . . . in ALL FIVE major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals) . . . than the six guys they traded did in last year's playoffs. Er, five, since they didn't have Cedric Simmons last year.

According to playoff numbers at ESPN: D. West, Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, and Wally Szczerbiak averaged a total of 31.4 points, 16.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 2.16 blocks, and 2.3 steals per playoff game.

Last year, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Shannon Brown, Ira Newble, and Donyell Marshall averaged a total of 26.2 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 2.05 steals.

Even though that team was more successful, and the players the Cavs traded for didn't have a lot of time to gel with their new team. They still performed BETTER than the ones they gave up. They just ran into a better team earlier this time.

Sure the trade wasn't going to instantly make them an elite team. That wasn't the motivation. The motivation in THIS trade was to get better.

(--It also brought in four rotation players, in exchange for two.)

They didn't lose any flexibility, all the players they got have comparable salaries and years as the ones they gave up. And they didn't have the attractive players or cap space to trade for anything bigger. This time.

They traded spare parts for BETTER spare parts. I don't know why that's worth arguing over.

It's funny to think that some people thought THIS was the big move that would make the Cavs championship favorites.

When the cap and available personnel align, the Cavs are going to get THE piece that'll snap their whole puzzle together. When that happens, WE'LL ALL KNOW IT.

J.D. said...
4:46 AM  

Larry Hughes was injured for most of the postseason.

The point of this all was that the media reaction to acquiring Ben Wallace was ridiculous. He isn't any good and he did nothing to improve the Cavs roster.

If you read my thoughts from the time of the trade I thought that Delonte and Smith were the important additions to the squad.

"If anything, people should be promoting the additions of Joe Smith and Delonte West. They came at the cost of expiring contracts and could add some value to the team. West has been a double digit scorer in multiple seasons in the league and can add value as a perimeter shooter. Meanwhile Smith is a solid veteran who should add some scoring and depth off the bench. So the deal as a whole should improve the 2008 Cavs..." but not enough to make them a title contender.

Simon said...
8:56 AM  

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