Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
The Cleveland Cavaliers are arguably the best team in the NBA right now, but it hasn’t come without their fair share of struggles as they have dealt with injuries and the results of trading their starting center for the past couple of years in Zydrunas Ilgauskas or better known by his teammates as simply Big Z.
The past two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers and GM Danny Ferry have done everything they can possibly do to try and convince LeBron James, their meal ticket, to sign a contract extension and stay with the Cavs for the long term.
Unfortunately, talks a contract extension have not gone so well as they have been unable to convince King James to stay with the team in the foreseeable future. It’s not that LeBron James doesn’t want to stay in Cleveland, where he was born and raised, but he will be getting offers from all sorts the teams this coming summer when he becomes a free agent for the first time in his NBA career.
No NBA player in the history of the league has ever been more desired as a free agent and LeBron James will be this summer. Ironically enough, LeBron isn’t the only big name they’ll be available on the free agent market this summer as other players like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer will also be available to the highest bidder.
This free agent market will be epic to say the least as a result of where these big name players play season could very well change the look of the league and the future of many franchises in the NBA.
With that being said, the Cavs are in desperation mode right now and are doing all they can do while LeBron is still in Cleveland to convince them that they are dedicated to winning, not just now, but for years to come.
As a result, the Cleveland Cavaliers went out and traded for Shaquille O’Neal from the Phoenix Suns in the offseason and versatile All-Star caliber forward Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards before the NBA trade deadline on February 18th.
These two trades were huge to say the least as he addressed two major needs but the Cavs have had over the past couple of seasons. By getting Shaq they now have the ability to put a body on Dwight Howard who they couldn’t guard in the paint in the Eastern conference finals last season. With the addition of Jamison, they have another go to guy to take the pressure off of LeBron James from having to score the bulk of the points.
The combination of these three players along with other complementary players like Moe Williams and Delonte West, the Cleveland Cavaliers are officially title contenders and have a good chance of competing with the likes of the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers if they happen to get to the NBA Finals this season.
Another big reason for making the trade for Antawn Jamison before the trade deadline was because the trade had the advantage of the Cleveland Cavaliers being able to retain the services of veteran center Zydrunas Ilgauskas who the Washington Wizards were planning on just buying out so he can become a free agent.
As a result, the Cleveland Cavaliers could sign Big Z once again 30 days after he was bought out by the Washington Wizards. That time has come and the Cavs need him more than ever as Shaq will be out the rest of the regular season due to a finger injury.
With Big Z in the lineup, the Cavs will have more bench depth and will be able to give Shaq more time to rest in the playoffs when the time comes!