Assessing the Cavaliers' chances for Washington's Antawn Jamison:
It is open season on some Washington Wizards right now — Gilbert Arenas for critics and Antawn Jamison for trade speculation.
The Cavaliers and their fans only seem to care about Jamison, the talented stretch power forward with high character who seems destined to be traded as his team attempts to start anew.
It isn’t a certainty, but several league executives said this week that the Wizards are listening to offers for every player on their roster and not ruling any sort of deal out.
"If you’re running a team you can either sell success or you can sell hope but that’s about it," said one high-ranking executive. "They’ve got a new owner coming [in Washington] and right now they sure can’t sell success so you can understand why they are looking at some options to have hope by the [trade] deadline. You expect them to look at all their options to do it."
So where does that leave the Cavs and Jamison? Unlike so many trade scenarios between teams that crop up during every season, there is a natural trade that can be made. The Cavs can offer the Wizards salary relief by trading Zydrunas Ilgauskas straight up for Jamison, thus getting the Wizards off the hook for the $28 million.
That’s not a deal that makes basketball sense, of course. But almost no trades that are being made these days are for talent reasons. With the Wizards thinking about re-making their team, moving the 33-year-old to give them flexibility actually makes some basketball sense over the long term in addition to big financial savings starting next year.
But it will not be that simple. The Wizards will probably want more, perhaps a prospect like J.J. Hickson and maybe even draft picks. The Cavs, of course, won’t want to pay that price and may demand Ilgauskas be released as part of the deal. Because $28 million is still $28 million.
So there you have the basic negotiation.
The Wizards they may not want to even think about making a trade to help the Cavs, who have so much bad blood with them. Frankly, though, Washington may not end up having much of a choice, especially if it is committed to reducing future payrolls.