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.
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.
As 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.