|Lineup changes coming for Cavs?||05.13.10 at 2:04 pm ET|
Reports out of the Cavaliers shootaround this morning indicate that Mike Brown is considering lineup changes for Game 6 tonight at the Garden. Plain Dealer beat writer Brian Windhorst noted that Brown is unlikely to change his starting five, but he brings up the one radical move that Brown has left: playing LeBron James at point guard.
The Cavs lineup would look like this: James at the point, Anthony Parker at off-guard and Antawn Jamison at small forward. The big men would be some cobination of J.J. Hickson, Anderson Varejao and Shaquille O’Neal, but probably the former to try to speed up play.
That would do a number of things: First, It would take Jamison away from Kevin Garnett where he is getting worked in the post and it would also remove Mo Williams out of the equation where he is getting worked against everyone. It would also set up James to match up directly with Rajon Rondo.
Brown tried a number of personnel adjustments in Game 5 including playing Zydrunas Ilgauskus ahead of Hickson, and calling on Daniel Gibson who hasn’t been in his rotation since March. Ilgauskus actually played well, but the moves had a feel of desperation about them.
This might be a desperate move, but it’s not necessarily a panic move. Taking Williams out of the lineup is addition by subtraction at this point and James has been successful guarding Rondo in small doses.
On the other hand, it could also open up Paul Pierce. The Celtics are going to keep pounding the ball to Garnett on the post regardless of who’s guarding him and there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t keep attacking Jamison in whatever matchup he finds himself.
The Celtics have been able to come up with effective counters for whatever the Cavs have thrown at them and it would be surprising if they haven’t planned for this scenario as well.
|Cavs land Jamison||02.17.10 at 11:20 pm ET|
While the Celtics worked to acquire Nate Robinson, the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a major deal Wednesday, landing Antawn Jamison from the Wizards in a three-team trade that also involved the Clippers.
The cost for acquiring the two-time All-Star was relatively light as Cleveland surrendered just a first round pick, center Zydrunas Ilgauskus and the rights to 2009 second round pick Emir Preldzic. It is widely believed that Ilgauskus will be bought out by the Wizards and then re-sign with the Cavs after 30 days.
Cleveland also got one-time Celtic Sebastian Telfair, although his role is expected to be limited. The Wizards received Al Thornton and the Clippers took back Drew Gooden, who was just traded to the Wizards over the weekend by the Mavericks.
The upshot of all that is that the Cavs finally acquired their long-desired big man who can shoot from the outside, without having to give up young forward J.J. Hickson.
There had been rumblings over the All-Star break that the Cavs were interested in Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire, but that rumor went from white hot to ice cold in the span of 72 hours. Reports late Wednesday night indicated that Phoenix would likely keep Stoudemire for the rest of the season. (He has a player option this summer).
The stage is now set for the Cavs and LeBron James. They have the best record, the best player, and the prized late-season addition to bring it all home before James hits free agency. The pressure, however, will be enormous on them in the playoffs.
The Celtics play the Cavs next Thursday in a TNT game at the Garden. The two teams haven’t met since opening day when the Celtics won 95-89 in Cleveland. The other main contenders in the East–Atlanta and Orlando–are not expected to do much with their rosters before the deadline.
|New rumor: Ray for Jamison, Butler||02.12.10 at 10:42 am ET|
Danny Ainge shot it down, telling the Globe that he has not talked with the Wizards. It also prompted Allen to post the following on Twitter: “I have no control over trade rumors people. Let’s just focus on being positive. I am a Celtic. Green all day.”
Washington Post beat man Michael Lee also took to Twitter to knock it down.
There is some thought that the rumor was put out there as a way to get other teams to sweeten their offers for Butler and Jamison. The Cavaliers, for example, have been rumored to be in pursuit of Jamison, but are said to be unwilling to part with second-year forward J.J. Hickson.
The following is the initial reaction to the rumor:
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski offers up an intriguing trade rumor with the Celtics potentially dealing Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to the Wizards for Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. If it happens the deal would fundamentally make over both teams.
Wojnarowski writes that “the trade isn’t imminent.” The Wizards have been talking with several teams, notably the Mavericks, about dealing Butler but this is the first scenario involving both Butler and Jamison.
Washington’s motivation is simple. The franchise is a mess in the wake of the Gilbert Arenas fiasco and it is loaded down with huge contracts for its veteran stars. Allen, Scalabrine and Giddens all have expiring contracts and a deal like this wouldn’t just be the first step in blowing it up and starting over, it would be the T.N.T. and the dynamite.
Butler is signed through next season at over $10 million and Jamison is signed through 2012 where he will make over $15 million. For the Celtics, a move like this would add significant money to the payroll, but it would also accomplish Danny Ainge’s stated goal of a trade that would help them win now and in the future. They would be getting two former All-Stars, and with Allen’s decline this season, the two best players in the deal.
Butler’s career has read sort of like Pierce-lite and while he has played some 2-guard, he is not the same caliber of long-range shooter as Allen (Butler is a career 31 percent shooter from 3-point range). According to 82games.com, he has played 72 percent of his minutes at the small forward position this season. Jamison will turn 34 this summer, but he has been remarkably durable during his career, playing 82 games five times in his 12-year career.
Both players have shown versatility during their careers. Jamison came off the bench during his one season with the Mavericks in 2003-04 and wound up winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. He would obviously be a significant upgrade to the second unit if Garnett is healthy, and provide better Garnett insurance then Rasheed Wallace has been able to give.
If Butler can make the transition to playing alongside Pierce it would give the Celtics two rugged scorers and defenders on the wing. It’s worth noting that he has played alongside Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant at various points in his career.
Of all the rumors that have been presented, this one has the most realistic and interesting possibilities.
(Note: The preceding sentence was written before the denials started rolling in. The “realistic” part was a bad read on my part.)