Receives: Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, Joe Smith
Loses: Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, Shannon Brown, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall
Sure it’s a sore point that the Cavs aren’t getting the point guard that they’ve been looking for, especially considering Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Devin Harris, and even Mike James have all changed teams this year. But looking at who they gave up, it’s addition by subtraction. Consider the league average for TS% is typically around 54% (53.7% at this moment), and look at who’s heading out of Cleveland: Drew Gooden (48.7%), Larry Hughes (46.7%), Donyell Marshall (42.7%), Shannon Brown (43.3%), and Cedric Simmons (21.0%). Only Ira Newble (52.2%) has a TS% anywhere near the median. [On a side note, one has to wonder the merits of conventional wisdom when looking at these numbers. Isn’t playing with a great passer/great scorer (LeBron James) suppose to make the rest of the team better on offense? Where are all the open looks in Cleveland?]
Enter Wally Szczerbiak (TS% 57.3%) and Joe Smith (TS% 51.5%), both of who should provide an offensive boost to Cleveland. Szczerbiak has never had a problem scoring efficiently, and at 30 years of age is still near the top of his game. Suddenly the Cavs look to have the makings of a strong offense: LeBron, Szczerbiak, Gibson, Ilgauskas, Varejao, Smith, Damon Jones, all have TS% above 50%. And although Ben Wallace is shooting poorly (TS% 39.1%) he’ll help the defense as well. With Ilgauskas, Wallace, Varejao, and James the Cavs have enough defense to make up for the guards.
In the end it’s hard not to like this trade for Cleveland. It’s not like the big named deals Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas made, but it should make them a considerably better team in the playoffs.
Receives: Adrian Griffin, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble
Loses: Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak
For Seattle this trade boils down to one thing: getting rid of Szczerbiak’s contract. Wally was Seattle’s highest paid player at $12M/year, nearly twice as much as their second highest paid player (Wilcox $6.5M). As for whom they’ll receive: Marshall has two years left at about $6M per, Adrian Griffin has two years left at $1.7M and Newble’s $3.4M expires this year. It’s not a great deal for Seattle, but it just doesn’t make sense to keep a Wally around on a rebuilding team that’s going to win 20-25 games. The one downside to this deal for Seattle residents is that cutting salaries is usually a necessary step prior to a team’s changing addresses.
Receives: Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, Shannon Brown
Loses: Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin
And so ends the Ben Wallace era in Chicago. Big Ben never paid dividends in the Windy City for a number of reasons. Age caught up with Wallace, but he wasn’t the right fit for the Bulls in the first place. Chicago would have been better off keeping Tyson Chandler and grabbing a power forward that can score from the post. Instead they ended up with four defensive minded big men who had trouble scoring: Ben, Andres, Tyrus, and Joakim. Sometimes grabbing the best player in the draft isn’t the best option for teams that are looking to compete now.
However it’s really hard to like who the Bulls received. It’ll be a miracle if Larry Hughes can revert to his best days in Washington. As the years go on it looks as if Hughes’ 2004 & 2005 are the exceptions not the rule. Additionally Hughes contract is nearly as bad as Big Ben’s. Meanwhile Wallace and Joe Smith’s departure is addition by subtraction, because it will force Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah into more minutes. Drew Gooden might be helpful in this area as he should be compliment these players better than they would each other.
In the end it seems as if this was about getting rid of Ben Wallace more than anything else. But the price was to take on Cleveland’s equally bad free agent mistake of Larry Hughes. Chicago can benefit from this trade if one (or both) of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah become successful with the absence of Wallace.