Here's some stuff to chew on over the trades the Cavs made today:
--The Cavs got a total steal in getting Flip Murray for Mike Wilks. Flip is an inconsistent player who isn't a great shooter, but he can get to the basket and can create his own shot. He can also play a little point guard. He's been on the trading block for weeks and his value is a great deal higher than Mike Wilks. Danny Ferry gets an A for this deal because he was able to grab him when everything else the Sonics were working on fell through. A few weeks ago, this guy was going to be the principal in a trade for Earl Watson and the Cavs got him for Wilks. I like Mike and he worked hard, but honestly, there's no comparison.
--The reason this deal is different than last season's deadline pickup of Jiri Welsch is that there's low risk and high reward. Unlike Welsch, Murray really didn't cost the Cavs any assets and he's a free agent at the end of the season. That means he's highly motivated and the Cavs are under no obligation to him. Welsch cost a 2007 first round pick and also cost them when the had to give up their lottery protection on the first-round pick they owed to the Charlotte Bobcats. He was also under contract for another year.
--The Lee Nailon pickup is totally about saving money for the 76ers. Ferry and 76ers GM Billy King are the best of friends and this was friendly deal. I got to know Lee a little bit a few years ago when he was with the Cavs and I like him and his game, he will be able to score when he's 50. I respected how he kept having to prove himself over and over. But Lee's had numerous run-ins with the law and was charged with hitting his wife last month. The 76ers needed to get rid of him and were looking to save all the luxury tax money they could. Ferry accommodate them and still was able to turn it into an advantage to the Cavs. When Danny got the job, the Cavs had no 2005 picks, a 2006 first round pick, no 2007 first round pick and no second round pick until something like 2009. He got a pick in 2005 (Martynas Andriuskevicius), now has two 2006 second-round picks and counting.
--Dan GIlbert's willingness to spend made both these deals possible. The man has high demands but he never lets money stand in the way in his businesses. He was willing to write the check to the Sonics to get Murray, because really the Cavs just bought him for the rest of the season.
--Getting Murray should be considered a challenge for Damon Jones and Sasha Pavlovic. I think Jones' minutes are more in danger because Murray might wind up on the floor a lot as a the point guard with James with the second unit because he's got much of the same skill set as Larry Hughes. In some ways Murray is like Sasha in that he's inconsistent, but he's much more athletic and much more proven. It is not unreasonable to think that if he plays well he could challenge for Sasha's job. To qualify that, though, we all thought the same thing about Welsch last season. As for Ira Newble, I'm not sure there's space for him once he is healthy now.
--Getting technical here, but just in case you are thinking ahead and care about the collective bargaining agreement rules, the Cavs will not have Bird rights on Murray. If they want to re-sign him to more than a minimum contract this summer they will have to use money from their mid-level exception.
--The Cavs still have some serious issues with their team, especially the inability to bring it every night. But they are better in the short term and perhaps slightly better in the long term after this deadline day. All in all, any objective observer would have to give them high marks.