Cavs land Jamison in three-team trade

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have swung a three-team trade for Antawn Jamison.

Cavs get Jamison and Telfair, Clippers get Drew Gooden and Wash gets Illgauskas, Al Thornton and Brian Skinner and Cavs 1st round pick.

So the Cavs essentially landed Jamison at the cost of Ilgauskas, taking on Telfair’s contract ($2.7 million next season), and their first round pick, which will be very late in the first round. This is an even sweeter deal than the Hickson/Z-for-Jamison swap that has been rumored for weeks. The proposed Amare Stoudemire deal with the Suns either 1) fell through because the Suns wouldn’t pull the trigger quickly enough, or 2) the Wizards willingness to take a pick instead of Hickson convinced the Cavs to trade for Jamison instead. Either way, the Cavs got a good player in the deal. He’s 33 and has a bad contract (2 yrs, $28.4 million), but he’s playing at a high level (21-9, 45% shooting) and gives the Cavs the “stretch 4” they’ve been coveting for months. He’ll be a nice matchup for both Rashard Lewis and Kevin Garnett because he’s comfortable playing defense on the perimeter.

The Suns were holding out for a better offer, but now the only suitor left standing appears to be the Heat. It’s going to be interesting to see if Stoudemire is moved before the deadline tomorrow. The team has reportedly told Stoudemire to suit up to play tonight, so no deal is imminent.

The Clippers will save $5.5 million on their 2010-11 payroll, so they’ll project to have more than $16 million* in cap space this summer (or enough to sign a big-name free agent). They are now legit threats to sign a star like Joe Johnson, who would look very nice in a lineup of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s a savvy move by GM Mike Dunleavy.

And finally, the Wizards will trim $10.6 million from next year’s payroll, giving the team around $9 million* in cap space (with Gilbert Arenas’s deal still on the books). They also get Al Thornton, who has struggled thus far in his career. While he did average almost 17 points last season, his PER has never risen above 13.00, which means he’s not a very efficient player. GM Ernie Grunfeld continues to make perplexing trades. He has moved Caron Butler and Jamison and all he has to show for it are a couple of borderline starters (Josh Howard and Thornton), a late first round draft pick and some cap space.

* assuming a salary cap of $50 million

Update: Brian Skinner is not a part of the deal, according to Ric Bucher.

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LeBron claims he hasn’t lobbied for Jamison

After the Cavs’ 115-106 win over the Magic on Thursday, LeBron James denied ever lobbying that his team make a deadline trade for Antwan Jamison, or any other player for that matter. (Chris Sheridan, ESPN)

Do the Cavs still need what’s known as a “stretch 4,” a power forward such as Antawn Jamison who can play inside and outside, another pricey piece to add to the puzzle in an effort not only to win a championship but also to convince LeBron James to stay in Cleveland past July 1?

It’s such a good question, we went ahead and asked it of James after the power forwards currently on Cleveland’s roster, J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao, both had huge games in Thursday night’s 115-106 victory over the Orlando Magic.

“I never said we needed one,” James said, immediately putting himself at odds with what is being whispered around the league — that James has made it known that he wants the Cavs to find a way to acquire Jamison. “I think our team is built to win a championship, and with the group of guys we have here, if we continue to get better we’re headed in the right direction.”

“So I haven’t really thought about the trade deadline or what guys are on the board or whatever, so we’ll continue to play the way we know how to play,” James said.

Hickson and Varejao combined for 36 points and eight rebounds Thursday night, outplaying the Magic’s PFs Rashard Lewis (19 points, 4 rebounds) and Ryan Anderson (5 points, 2 rebounds).

That’s all well and good, but this is eerily similar to the pre-deadline position that the Cavs found themselves in last year. They were playing well and looking strong, so they elected to stand pat at the trade deadline. We all know how that turned out.

I’m not saying that trading Hickson would be the right move. We just don’t know. But in Jamison we’re talking about a two-time All-Star who is averaging 20.5 points and 8.8 rebounds, even at 33 years old. I think it’s safe to say that he’s going to be better than Hickson for the rest of this season and next.

The Cavs could just be posturing, hoping to get themselves the best possible deal next week. But if they lead another deadline pass without making a move, and this season ends the same way, it isn’t going to be pretty.

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LeBron wants Antawn Jamison

Ken Berger of says that LeBron James is the driving force behind the Cavs’ renewed interest in Antawn Jamison.

It’s been well documented that the Cavaliers’ infatuation with Antawn Jamison has been rekindled. What’s been underplayed is the reason behind it: LeBron James is the one driving the team’s pursuit of Jamison, according to a source, and Cavs GM Danny Ferry – as usual – is trying to appease the King. A couple of problems: The Wizards want a young asset in return, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas – while a fit salary-wise – doesn’t fit that description. The sensible piece to include in the deal would be J.J. Hickson, whom the Cavs are reluctant to give up. But if the Cavs got Jamison, what value would Hickson be to them as their fifth big man? One scenario that is believed to be under discussion would have the Cavs hoping the Wizards bought out Ilgauskas after the trade, using some cash added to the deal by Cleveland. That way, the Cavs could sign Ilgauskas back on a minimum deal, giving them the player James covets (Jamison) and a 7-foot-4 insurance policy for Shaquille O’Neal. The Wizards would have to ask themselves if getting out from under Jamison’s contract and adding Hickson is enough to justify a deal that would get them under the tax next summer, but not under the cap.

If the Cavs can’t get Jamison, Indiana’s Troy Murphy is Plan B. And yes, there’s a Plan C — Andre Iguodala. Whereas the Cavs’ front office believes Jamison could help them win a championship this year, Iguodala would be more of a long-term solution. And he better be, with four years and $56 million left on his deal.

Even though Jamison is playing better right now than Caron Butler, he’s also four years older (33) and has a much more expensive contract (Jamison: 2-years, $28.4 million, Butler: 1-year, $10.6 million). For a team like the Wizards, who at this point are just trying to get into a position where they can rebuild, Jamison is just too old to be a part of that process. So it makes sense to add a promising young prospect like Hickson, though they’d probably have to agree to buy out Zydrunas Ilgauskas as part of the trade, so that the Cavs can re-sign him.

Cleveland needs to keep LeBron happy. If he wants Jamison, then they should try to acquire him. He’s a smallish power forward who can also play small forward when the Cavs want to buy a few minutes rest for LeBron. He’s a nice matchup for Rashard Lewis and could potentially give Pau Gasol fits in the Finals, forcing the Lakers to bench one of their big men. With Boston faltering and the Magic looking pretty shaky, Cleveland is a great bet to make the Finals, and if they were to pass on Jamison and lose to the Lakers or some other Western Conference foe, LeBron would have some valid reasons to leave. If they do acquire Jamison and lose in the Finals, then at least the franchise was willing make moves to try to improve the team. With a core of Jamison and Mo Williams, LeBron might be more willing to return to Cleveland.

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Should the Cavs acquire Antawn Jamison or Troy Murphy?

ESPN’s Chad Ford breaks down the 25 impact players most likely to be traded before the NBA’s Feb. 18 trade deadline. [Insider subscription required.]

1. Antawn Jamison, F, Wizards
Jamison is at the top of this list for three reasons. First, the Wizards are a mess and seem to be moving rapidly toward a fire sale. Second, Jamison is in the latter stages of his career. Neither he nor the Wizards want him stuck on a terrible team. Third, a number of contenders want him, namely the Cavs. That’s the perfect recipe for a big deadline trade.

2. Troy Murphy, F, Pacers
The Pacers look as though they’re moving toward a youth movement as they continue to build around Danny Granger. With a number of contending teams interested in Murphy, the Pacers seem to be in the right place to make a deal. While Murphy may be overpaid, there are few bigs in the league that can rebound and spread the floor the way he can. With just one more year left on his contract, Murphy could be the missing piece for a team trying to compete for a title.

The Cavs seem to have the most interest, though several other teams have also told me they’ll make a run at him. At the very least, the Pacers should be able to deal Murphy for expiring contracts and one asset (either a draft pick or a young prospect).

3. Tayshaun Prince, F, Pistons
Joe Dumars didn’t expect the Pistons to be championship contenders this season. But he also didn’t anticipate the team losing 13 games in a row. The fact that the Pistons drafted three small forwards in last year’s draft and that two of them — Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye — look very promising is all you need to know. The word on the street is that the Pistons are in very active trade discussions on Prince.

While the team would prefer to move Richard Hamilton, I don’t think they’re going to be able to find a home for him given his enormous contract. If the Pistons can swap Prince for some help in the paint, they’ve got to do it. The combination of Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown just isn’t getting it done.

It makes sense that Jamison is more likely on his way out of Washington than his teammate, Caron Butler. Butler is younger (29) and has a better contract, and the Wizards could actually build around him for 3-4 years if they chose to do so.

It looks like Ford believes that there’s a good chance that the Cavs will end up with either Jamison or Murphy. Both are power forwards who can spread the court with good outside shooting.

Here is what John Hollinger had to say about Jamison’s defense:

If Jamison has a weakness, it’s his defense, and the absence of Brendan Haywood last year magnified that problem. He’s a disinterested help defender who rarely blocks shots or takes charges, and quicker forwards beat him off the dribble easily because his lateral movement isn’t great. He does a decent job on the boards and doesn’t foul, but he needs to be paired with a big, tough center to hide his shortcomings.

And here are his thoughts about Murphy on that end of the floor:

While he’s a tremendous rebounder with a strong frame and a knack for positioning, his lack of foot speed hurts him at the defensive end, too. He struggles to contest shots or defend long post players and is particularly bad at moving laterally to defend pick-and-rolls.

To sum up, Murphy is a better three-point shooter (40% to 35%), but Jamison is probably better able to match up with Rashard Lewis, who gave the Cavs fits in last year’s playoffs. Murphy has one more season at the tune of $12.0 million, while Jamison has two more years and $28.4 remaining on his contract. Murphy (29) is four years younger than Jamison (33).

Acquiring Murphy would allow for more flexibility in a year or two, but with LeBron’s future up in the air, Danny Ferry should make a move for the player he thinks is most able to help the Cavs win a championship now. Maybe it’s Murphy, maybe it’s Jamison. They both bring different things to the table.

NBA Draft & Free Agency Rumors: Monta unhappy, Cavs looking at Jamison and more

With the Finals behind us and the draft and free agency looming, the rumors are flying fast and furious. Here’s a rundown of the latest scuttlebutt…

Things are rumored to be getting worse in Golden State.

The talk is that Monta Ellis is unhappy with the direction the organization is heading in, and still holds a bit of grief over the way they held his contract status in limbo for months following his moped injury. For weeks we’ve heard that Ellis is no longer interested in playing for Golden State, and apparently it had reached a point where it was “close to popping off” in the words of one NBA executive—meaning going to the media and publicly demanding a trade.

Let me get this straight — the franchise gives Ellis $66 million over six years and he rewards them by tearing up his ankle in a moped accident, missing 57 games this season. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about the 30-game suspension he served with no pay, but he wasn’t going to play in those games anyway. Shouldn’t he be punished for being boneheaded enough to tool around on a moped?

It sounds like the team has promised Ellis that he’ll be running the point next season and may have promised that they wouldn’t take a point guard at #7, prompting several prospects — Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ricky Rubio — to refuse to work out for Golden State. Suddenly, Jordan Hill looks like a stronger possibility if he’s still on the board when the Warriors pick.

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