Reshuffled front office isn't slowing Cleveland Cavaliers' off-season
CLEVELAND, Ohio — One message has become quite clear since the
Cavaliers’ season ended just three weeks ago. Team owner Dan Gilbert is
not interested in status quo.
He’s fired the coach, accepted the resignation of the general manager
and there are no signs of stopping.
Gilbert has qualified these moves by saying he will not be afraid to
take risks. Or as he said Friday: "The unknown is just that."
With that in mind, league sources have indicated the Cavs have begun to consider taking some risks with their roster. That may even include seeing if a trade makes sense for one of the most popular players on the team.
According to multiple league sources, the Cavs are testing the trade value for point guard Mo Williams, among other players. It is part of what appears to be an effort to tweak the entire backcourt, as Delonte West is also on the trade block.
These talks are being piloted, sources said, by new general manager Chris Grant. However, the decision to determine Williams’ value could mostly be the result of the two weeks of in-depth conversations led by Gilbert on the state of the team. The products of those talks resulted in the firing of Mike Brown and Danny Ferry’s decision not to seek another contract.
It is not assured that the Cavs will make a deal. This is the time of year when teams amp up trade discussions prior to the draft. Last year, the Cavs traded for Shaquille O’Neal the day before the draft but started the discussions for that deal in the first week of June.
Williams has been the best scoring guard LeBron James has played with in his career. Because he can play both off the ball and with the ball effectively, he has proven to be an excellent fit with James, who usually has the ball in his hands.
This season, Williams increased his assists and did not complain when his shots went down as O’Neal and Antawn Jamison joined the team. He is well liked within the locker room as well. In 150 regular-season games, Williams has averaged 16.9 points and shot 45 percent from the field.
In other words, he’s been a valuable player.
But in 25 playoff games, Williams’ scoring and shooting percentages have dropped even as his minutes have gone up. He has not performed well under the postseason pressure and at times has gotten down on himself.
This seems to be what might be concerning the Cavs as they evaluate their team. After winning 127 games over two seasons but coming up short of even making the Finals, they are reassessing what they really have.
"One thing we’ve learned is how different the postseason is from the regular season," Gilbert said.
Williams’ defense is another issue. While he’s generally improved defensively over the last two years, the Cavs have matchup disadvantages with top teams in the East. Williams was limited in what he could do defensively against Derrick Rose of the Bulls in the first round and Rajon Rondo in the second round.
Had the Cavs advanced, Jameer Nelson of the Magic might have been an issue in the conference finals.