A Bull No Longer – Wallace Heads To Cleveland

22 02 2008

Not often in the midst of a race towards the playoffs do you see two teams within the same division make a big trade, but the 3-way with Central div. rivals Chicago and Cleveland – along with Western Conference Seattle – sees exactly that.  It’s a bit of an admission of error from John Paxson, who fought to get Ben Wallace from the Pistons.   It will be interesting to see what moves Chicago make during the off-season, post what’s been a very, very disappointing year.

Ben Wallace a Cav!I for one would love to know what LeBron James really thinks of this trade.  Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak obtained at the loss of Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmonds and Shannond Brown. 

Breakdown:

  • Chicago gets Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmonds, Shannond Brown
  • Cleveland gets Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, Chicago’s 2nd round 2009 pick
  • Seattle gets Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Adrian Griffin

I know Bulls fans are ecstatic to lose Wallace’s millstone of a contract (2 more years, about $30 mil), but are now wary of Hughes.

It could end up being a good trade for both Cleveland and Chicago.  Wallace may do relatively well given there’s another big body in Ilgauskas to work with.  Without a doubt, he struggled when made the primary big man at Chicago.  Perhaps ‘struggled’ is not the words Bulls-fans would use.  If he can even return to 75% of what he was when he was in Detroit, this might work for the Cavs – at least short term.   Delonte West could be very useful at the point.  Whilst he’s no Jason Kidd or Mike Bibby, he is an upgrade on using either Booby Gibson or Damon Jones.  Wally Szczerbiak kind of fell off the map at Seattle, and should make an immediate impact as he’s a good shooter who will benefit from the double/triple teams LeBron James often sees. 
This trade does make the Cavs better, but not to the degree that they’ll overly bother Boston or Detroit.  And it places a very heavy burden on their salary cap if Wallace remains what he was in Chicago – a dud.  It’s a gamble – not on Shaq-to-Phoenix size – but a gamble none-the-less.

Drew Gooden - headed for the Windy CityAs far as Chicago’s concerned, no Wallace is a relief, but there have to be concerns about fitting Hughes into an already crowded guard rotation.  Definitely a bonus to acquire Gooden, whose contract expires at the end of this season.  If he works out, keep him.  If not, then wave bye-bye.
Brown and Simmonds are somewhat unknown, but for Chicago it’s more addition-by-subtraction. Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah should now see more minutes, and I think the team will gel a little better without the two grumpy old men Wallace & Griffin. 
Still… the logjam that’s been created at the guard spots is alarming – and probably indicative that during the off-season Chicago will look to move Gordon or Deng.

Seattle?  At first glance it seems like a bit of a puzzle.  It looks as if it’s just to move out pieces that no longer fit.  They do have added flexibility now tho’ – with 13 picks in the next 3 drafts and 3 players whose contracts expire at the end of this season, the Sonics are looking to the future.

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5 responses

22 02 2008
Aaron Becker

Wally is gonna have to get that 15-18 pts for this to work at all. Now if they add another scoring punch for next years team, then they have a shot.

22 02 2008
fouledout

this trade will benefit the cavs, but i agree that this will not really bother the celtics or pistons. but this will put them firmly on the third or fourth seed in the eastern conference. the bulls get the downside of this trade. as you’ve mentioned, chicago’s guard rotation is kinda tight now and adding larry hughes into the picture cooks more trouble for the bulls. ben gordon has been struggling the WHOLE season and putting another struggling shooter in hughes won’t help the bulls.
on the other hand, htis will be beneficial to joakim noah. i kinda like that player, i believe that he really has something to put on the table if he is given extended playing time. now the big ben is gone, noah figures to play extended minutes and we’ll see if he really has something to offer.

22 02 2008
withmalice

Some pundits have Cleveland going all the way on the back of this trade. But – tell me – who is guarding Kevin Garnett? And then who’s guarding Ray Allen? No-one in Cleveland, that’s for sure? Ilgauskas? Don’t make me laugh. Varejao? Useful player, but not a patch on those two.

Initally thought ‘what the hell are the Sonics doing?’, but further exploration revealed that they are looking at the big picture: 3 expiring contracts and 13 picks over 3 years is nothing to sneeze at.

22 02 2008
fouledout

yes. this trade will secure the cavs that they are at least in the top 4 teams in the east, but they wouldn’t really make any damage deep into the playoffs. the line up won’t be instrumental in a conference finals repeat.

23 02 2008
Aaron Becker

>>but further exploration revealed that they are looking at the big picture: 3 expiring contracts and 13 picks over 3 years is nothing to sneeze at.<<

Yep. Lock up a bunch of young players to grow with Durant.

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