Thursday, September 27, 2007
The Off-Season Adventures of the Cleveland Cavaliers: Danny Ferry's Desk
Danny Ferry(Wearing a shirt that says "We were not in a position to offer Ray Allen or Michael Redd a max-dollar deal" on one side and "We did not have the assets necessary to complete a sign-and-trade for Joe Johnson" on the other side): Crap, I really have to make a move this off-season. Everyone's getting up my ass, and I have to improve this team. I better get on the phone. (Calls Kings GM Geoff Petrie)
Ferry: Hey Geoff, it's Danny.
Petrie: Hi, Danny.
Ferry: So anyways, we'd really like to get Mike Bibby on our team. He can run an offense and shoot from outside, two things our offense has been sorely lacking, and he could really make a difference on our team.
Petrie: Well, he's not untouchable; he's got a huge contract, and he's been getting worse the last few years. What can you offer me?
Ferry: This is hard for me to do, but I'm willing to offer you Drew Gooden.
Petrie: You want to essentially trade a point guard who scored 17 points per game in an off-year for a power forward who averaged 11 points in a career year straight-up?
Ferry: That's right, I am actually prepared to offer you this deal. And Drew's only on the hook for $14 million dollars over the next two years. Financial freedom, thy name is Gooden.
Petrie: I'm not sure. Drew's pretty light-skinned, but with him, Kevin Martin, and Ron Artest, we'd be starting the equivalent of two black players per game. That flies in the face of our organizational policies.
Ferry: Drew plays the piano.
Petrie: Hmm. That is good. Still, I worry about his consistency. For a big man, he shoots a pretty low percentage, he regularly follows up 8-11 games with 3-14 games, and he shot 44% for the entirety of December and February.
Ferry: Well, don't worry about that. We asked him what the problem was then, and he explained that he's from the Bay Area, and he couldn't function well in the colder months.
Petrie: He doesn't like the cold?
Ferry: Sort of. In his words, his Spirit Cougar has to hibernate during the colder months, which makes it tougher for him to hit the basket. That's just common sense. But you guys are in California, so you won't have that problem!
Petrie: That does make sense, although I can't help but worry about how his spirit cougar will interact with Ron Artest's invisible bipolar leprechaun mentor.
Ferry: Look, you guys need interior scoring, defense, and rebounding. Drew provides all of those things.
Petrie: I'm not sure about that. I was looking at game film of Drew,
Petrie: Anyways, Drew can rebound, but he never posts up, and is one of the worst defensive players I've ever seen.
Ferry: Drew's very good at defending people right in front of him, but you can't expect a big man to be able to defend the entire paint all by himself. He's not The Flash, Geoff.
Petrie: You're preaching to the choir here, Danny; as the guy who employs Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes, I couldn't agree with you more. But those guys are white. And not just white. Power white. The only reason Bibby's even available is because he has a posse. And I did just sign Mikki Moore, who led the league in field goal % last year, was the NBDL defensive player of the year, and rebounds at a decent clip. He's also borderline insane, so I just don't know what need we would have for Drew at this point. Sorry. I am sick of Ron Artest's attitude; what can you offer me for him?
Ferry: We're not interested. We already have a shooting guard who slashes to the rim, plays lock-down defense, and can shoot from the outside? Why would we want Ron Artest?
Petrie: Because he actually does do those things.
Ferry: Be that as it may, we don't like bad attitudes on this team. Good day. (Hangs up.)
Mike Brown: Don't worry. Bibby doesn't play defense, and we have no use for him. The Spurs, Suns, and Mavericks all start defensive liabilities at point guard, and look where it's gotten them. Besides, we don't need Bibby to make our offense work. I've got some new plays drawn up for this season, and believe me, we're going to light other teams up. They're not going to know what hit them when I bust out the "reverse motion" offense. Every defense in the league is designed to stop teams from getting to the basket, so they won't know what to do when Larry dishes it to LeBron running away from the basket at full-speed. (Grimaces happily.) Oh, and Anderson Varejao and his agent, Dan Fegan, are here to discuss his contract.
Ferry: Crap. Let them in.
Fegan: Hello, Danny.
Ferry: Burn in hell.
Fegan: Let's discuss Anderson's contract.
Ferry: I'm prepared to offer you an extension worth around 5-6 million dollars per year.
(Varejao instinctively falls out of his chair and crashes to the floor.)
Fegan: Not now, Andy. Look, it's pretty clear that Anderson is a franchise-type player. He's a young, athletic big man with a nose for the ball and a great motor. There are really no weaknesses in his game.
Ferry: He can't pass, shoot, handle the ball, score with his back to the basket, block shots, or guard big forwards.
Fegan: Don't try to swindle me, Danny. He runs the pick-and-roll with LeBron well. This isn't Ferry-world. My previous contracts have clearly established the value of a solid power forward in this league. Troy Murphy is making $10 million a year over the next 4 years, and Nene is making $10 million a year over the next 5 years. Nene is a Brazilian power forward; Anderson is a Brazilian power forward. That's called binding legal precedent.
Ferry: Well, I went to Duke, so I know you're full of crap with that big language. You're dealing with a guy with actual schooling.
Fegan: I went to Yale law.
Ferry: Oh. Well, be that as it may, Drew only makes $7 million dollars a year, and he's our starting power forward. Anderson is our backup power forward. I'm not paying a backup more than a starter. Checkmate.
Fegan: Well, I looked at the statistics,
Ferry: (Long string of expletives)
Fegan: And your team is a full 12 points per game better when Anderson is in for Drew, and he's on the floor in crunch-time of every game. There's really no valid reason why he isn't starting.
Ferry: Are you questioning the intelligence of my head coach?
(Mike Brown starts to exit the room in a huff, but instead of going straight to the door, he curls around the desk, walks over to the opposite wall, and eventually ends up walking into a flower pot before exiting the room.)
Ferry: Look, we just think you're overvaluing your client.
Fegan: Look, Dan-O, no team has ever been unhappy when they've signed one of my players. When was the last time you heard anyone regretting signing Troy Murphy, Erick Dampier, Shaun Marion, Earl Watson, Jason Terry, Stephen Jackson, Yi Jianlian, Jason Richardson, Austin Croshere, Ruben Patterson, Shandon Anderson, Reggie Evans, Dermarr Johnson, or Eduardo Najera to big contracts? None of those players have ever been completely ineffective, ended up getting traded in a contract dump, gotten an inflated ego because of me and demanded a trade, or nearly caused an international incident. I know you'll do the right thing.
Ferry: I don't much care for your fancy Big-10 logic, but it's pretty good. However, I think a team-crippling holdout situation is always better than overpaying a few million dollars. I believe that we have reached a stalemate.
Ferry: I better make a trade. A big trade. (Picks up op-ed column that says the Cavs should trade for Shaun Marion, calls Suns GM Steve Kerr.)
Ferry: Hey, Steve.
Kerr: Hey, Danny.
Ferry: So I was seeing that Shaun Marion is unhappy over there in Phoenix.
Kerr: Yeah, he's being pretty sulky, which can happen after a heart-breaking playoff loss and a whole summer to sulk about it. But he's got a max-dollar deal, he's in the perfect situation, and I think once training camp starts up he'll see that we're serious about getting a championship now, which is something he won't find if he gets traded. I saw the same thing happen with Scottie Pippen back when I played for Chicago, and he had a contract dispute with an ownership that didn't appreciate him, so I think Shaun will come around sooner rather than later.
Ferry: Steve, you and I both know how ridiculous that sounds. Your only option is to trade him, and soon. And I just happen to have the perfect package in place.
Kerr: I'll give you five minutes because I'm a nice guy.
Ferry: Two words: Larry Hughes.
Ferry: He'd be perfect for the Suns. He doesn't work in our system because we play a half-court game, which is the only logical way to play when you have the best open-court player since Magic Johnson on your team. But you guys run-and-gun, which is perfect for Larry. He's an ultra-athletic slasher who can see the floor and run the court, and he'd be perfect in the Suns system. Also, you guys have some real problems defensively, and Larry's a stopper. Plus, I know how scared of the luxury tax you guys are, and Larry's only on the hook for $36 million over the next three years! So I'll send the paperwork over to your office, and you guys can start printing out jerseys.
Kerr: Hold on a second, Danny. I actually watch basketball,
Ferry: (5-minute string of unfiltered expletives in multiple languages)
Kerr: So I know that while Larry might have been a slasher earlier in his career, age and injuries have turned him into a jump shooter who looks for his own shot first, can't get to the basket consistently, has trouble finishing when he does, and doesn't have consistent 3-point range. Also, he's overrated defensively, and we have a much better defender in Raja Bell, not to mention that Shaun Marion might be the best defensive player in the league. I see no way that this trade would help us in any conceivable way.
Ferry: I can see how it might look that way at first. But think about it. Shaun can't create his own shot, and plays best when he's getting the ball cutting to the basket or for a spot-up shot, while Larry excels at creating his own shot-he can fire off a contested 20-footer at any time.
Kerr: We have the best point guard in the league, and our offense is based around him creating shots for other people. The only two players on your team I'd be interested in are Varejao, who rebounds, plays defense, and runs the court, but you guys didn't want to trade him when he was in the last year of his rookie deal, and I'm not paying $8 million for him now. But I do like that young Daniel Gibson; he's an athlete who can flat-out shoot, and we could always use a player like that so that Nash doesn't have to play 35 minutes a game 82 times a year.
Ferry: Slow down, Steve. We really like Daniel. He just exploded from relative obscurity to put up the best games of his life in the playoffs, exceeding all possible expectations of him. You never sell an asset when its value is really, really high. I didn't even need to go to business school to learn that. I am, however, willing to part with Drew Gooden.
Kerr: Never call me again.
(Sasha Pavlovic and his agent, Mark Goldstein, enter the room.)
Ferry: Hello, Mark.
Goldstein: Hi, Danny. Let's talk business. Sasha had a great year for you, he's still under the radar, and he's a great young piece for this franchise. We'd like a reasonable extension that would ensure that Sasha will spend his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ferry: Now how did the idea get in your head that we'd want to make any kind of significant effort to keep Sasha?
Goldstein: Well, he's your starting shooting guard, shot 45% from the field, 40% from 3-point range, and 80% from the line, and averaged a solid 14 points per game once he was made a starter. He's also the only player other than LeBron who can consistently get to the basket and finish, and he plays very solid defense.
Ferry: Meh. Sasha's good at making plays, but we already have LeBron to drive to the basket. There's no sense in having two players who can drive to the basket. We want to surround LeBron with shooters.
Goldstein: Sasha shot 40% from 3.
Ferry: Look, you can twist the facts all you want, but Sasha wasn't all that great for the entire first two thirds of the season.
Goldstein: Well, he was on the bench.
Ferry: Mike had his reasons for keeping him on the bench, and I have full faith in him.
Goldstein: Well, be that as it may, I don't see how you can judge my client on what he did before he had a chance to play, and I'm not sure he didn't deserve to get a chance earlier. It's impossible to make an impact from the bench.
Mike Brown(from other room): Not in the Reverse Motion offense!
Goldstein: Sasha shot significantly higher percentages than Larry Hughes from the field, the 3-point line, and the free throw line, and played defense that was just as good as, if not better than, Larry's all season. The only thing Larry is better than Sasha at is shooting more, which really isn't all that impressive of a skill. You have no problem giving Larry $12 million a year, but you don't want to give Sasha $5 million?
Ferry: You're undervaluing Larry's contributions to this team. When we switched Larry to point guard, we had one of the best records in basketball.
Goldstein: That was also the first time the team was fully healthy and Sasha had a starting role. Isn't it possible that putting a good player into the starting lineup from the bench had more of an impact than making an ineffective shooting guard into an ineffective point guard?
Ferry: Look, this franchise is tight for cash. We can't just be throwing money around willy-nilly.
Goldstein: Didn't you just build a $25 million practice facility?
Ferry: That's important. We have treadmills that lower into water.
Goldstein: And you bought LeBron James a lion.
Ferry: LeBron likes lions. Look, Sasha doesn't have a lot of options here. He can take the peanuts or not play.
Goldstein: He'll play in Europe.
Ferry: That's ridiculous. Who would ever do something as petulant and selfish as that?
Ferry: Okay. Sasha looks like a vampire. It creeps me out. I'll keep in touch.
(Sasha and Goldstein leave)
Ferry: Jesus, the world's gone mad. I can't get anything done. I couldn't even sign Alan Anderson. What we need is a shooter, a point guard, and a proven veteran, who can lead this team. But he'll need to be unhappy in his current situation; off-court troubles drive value way down. And he'll need to have GM even worse than me to trade him away. (Jumps up from desk, reaches for phone.)
Ferry: Hey, Isiah! It's me, Danny. How's the trial going? Good. Look, I've got a trade for you. How do you guys feel about Larry Hughes? I thought that's what you'd say-I think he'd be a great Knick too. Who do I want back? Well, that's kind of the interesting part. (pause) Do you still have sneakers that fit?