LeBron James gets help: analyzing Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City’s blockbuster trade
They got Mo Williams for spare parts in Damon Jones and Joe Smith. The slick point guard has a big-ticket salary (5 years, $40 million remaining on his contract), but he posted an impressive 17 points and 6 assists per game last season. Hopefully, he’ll provide superstar LeBron James with some much-needed help …
Rumour is now reality. ESPN is reporting the proposed swap involving Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City has become official with LeBron James’ squad landing the biggest name in point guard Maurice Williams.
The Cavaliers will ship Damon Jones to the Bucks and forward Joe Smith to Oklahoma City. In return, they’ll get the high-scoring Williams.
The Bucks will replace Williams, their starting point guard, with Luke Ridnour who they received from Oklahoma City. The currently name-less franchise also sent utility guard-forward Adrian Griffin to Milwaukee.
Oklahoma City also gets Desmond Mason as a throw-in; the athletic guard-forward started his career with the franchise in Seattle.
Here is an analysis of this complicated three team, six player trade:
The Cavs gave up:
- Damon Jones.
- Joe Smith.
The Cavs get:
- Maurice Williams (from Milwaukee).
Why The Cavaliers Made This Trade:
They got Mo Williams for spare parts in Damon Jones and Joe Smith. The slick point guard has a big-ticket salary (5 years, $40 million remaining on his contract), but he posted an impressive 17 points and 6 assists per game last season. Hopefully, he’ll provide superstar LeBron James with some much-needed help.
With Williams’ multi-year deal on the books, the club will likely move Delonte West. However, ESPN is also reporting that West –who is currently locked in negotiations with the club as a restricted free agent- could start alongside Williams.
Cleveland had to cut ties with the outspoken Jones. Smith, on the other hand, is a useful veteran, who will help in Oklahoma City.
The Bucks gave up:
- Desmond Mason.
- Maurice Williams.
The Bucks get:
- Damon Jones (from Cleveland).
- Luke Rindour (from Oklahoma City).
- Adrian Griffin (from Oklahoma City).
Why The Bucks Made This Trade:
Milwaukee needed to cut salary after acquiring All-Star Richard Jefferson from New Jersey. Williams’ contract and score-first style made him the ideal candidate to be moved.
Ridnour also seems a better fit for the improving Eastern Conference side. The pass-first table-setter will of course find All-Star wings Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson, but he’ll also involve post Andrew Bogut. With more touches the ‘Aussie’, who just inked a massive extension, could enjoy a breakout season.
Jones, if focused, still has nice range, while new coach Scott Skiles and the blue-collar Griffin are reunited after their run together in Chicago.
Best of all, these three come cheap. Ridnour only has two years and $13 million left on his contract. Jones’ deal expires in July of 2009, while Griffin is scheduled to earn a paltry $1.6 million next season.
Oklahoma City’s perspective:
Oklahoma City gives up:
- Luke Ridnour.
- Adrian Griffin.
Oklahoma City gets:
- Joe Smith (from Cleveland).
- Desomond Mason (from Milwaukee).
Why Oklahoma City Made This Trade:
Mason and Smith both have expiring contracts, which provides a rebuilding Oklahoma City squad with financial flexibility. The franchise can let their contracts come off the books at the end of next season or include them in a future trade.