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The Return of Mega Deal Monday (On a Wednesday)

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Folks, it's that time of the off-season: time for random speculation.  Actually, this version of Mega Deal Monday (On a Wednesday) isn't really random; rather, it's a continuation of my post from earlier this week about the Wolves' chances in 2009 free agency.   Enough with the introduction, let's get a'dealing:

To the Cavs:

  • Randy Foye
  • Brian Cardinal

To the Wolves:

  • Eric Snow

A few things of note:

  • Brian Cardinal cannot be included in a package deal until 2 months after his trade to the Wolves.  This date will fall on or around August 26th. 
  • Rashad McCants could be substituted for Randy Foye.  I come down on the Shaddy side of things in the Shaddy v. Foye Death Match so I'd much rather see the Wolves move Foye. 

Why does this work?  Clevaland has about $30 mil in expiring contracts on its books this year.  It is hopelessly over the luxury mark with a pretty putrid non-Lebron core of Booby Gibson and JJ Hickson.  They need an off guard as well as someone who could help share ball handling duties with Gibson.  They also need someone cheap, as every dollar they bring in they have to pay double for. 

By taking on Foye and Cardinal, the Cavs will take a net gain of $3.4 mil against the luxury mark (Foye + Cardinal cost $1.7 mil more than Snow).  Why would they make this trade?  First, they get a young guard that could start right away and play significant minutes opposite Gibson, or whoever else they may bring (or keep) aboard to play point.  Second, Cardinal's deal comes off the books before Lebron would need to be re-signed, preserving their ability to operate in the 2010 free agency market.  Third, by adding Foye they reduce the number of gaps they need to fill by moving their expiring contracts in order to keep Lebron happy come playoff time.  Wally's $13 mil comes off the books after the season and the Cavs could be a pretty big mid-season trade player with that sort of expiring money to throw around.  Cardinal's deal would also give them an additional contract to make a move should Ilgauskas and Varejo stay with the squad in 2009.  That's another big year of expiring deals. 

This works for the Wolves because they would clear $10.2 mil off their salary before the 2009 free agent season (by swapping Shaddy for Foye, they'd clear $10.3 mil off the books).  They'd enter the 2009 free agent season with about $46.1 mil worth of contracts.  This is nearly $15 mil under the cap (it will change a bit depending on their draft picks). 

This deal is based on a couple of assumptions with the Wolves:

  1. Randy Foye is not the point guard of the future for the Wolves.  Sebastian Telfair will prove to be the better floor general (esp when surrounded by a high/low post and two 3 point shooters) and will eventually grab the most minutes at the point this year. 
  2. Randy Foye is not as good a 2 guard as is Rashad McCants.  Whether this means both of them start or come off the bench, Shaddy is younger, has more experience, is a more efficient scorer, and has better size.  You can read statistical comparisons of Shaddy and Foye here, here, and here.
  3. Eventually, the Wolves will have to draft another point/combo guard to pair with Bassy while McCants (or Foye) comes off the bench.  Don't forget that this club took OJ Mayo with their 1st pick and Fred Hoiberg came down to the draft party and told the fans that he was their guy.  How would that have worked out when Bassy proves to be the best point sometime in mid-December?  Then there would be a 3-way log jam at the off-guard spot. 

For the life of me, I'll never understand why Randy Foye is viewed as some sort of point-capable combo guard while Rashad McCants is not.  Seriously.  Why not let Shaddy have a few minutes at the lead guard?  Wouldn't this force his hand as far as team play is concerned?  Shaddy is currently the only player on the Wolves that can get his own shot.  He has the 2nd highest usage rate on the squad.  He rebounds just as well as Foye and he gets to the line just as much.  His PPR and ast/to rates are hard to judge because they play different positions. 

By making a Cardinal-based trade with Foye (or McCants), the Wolves would accomplish several beneficial things:

  1. They would clear massive amounts of cap space for a 2009 free agency run.
  2. They would clear enough cap space to sign Pekovic.
  3. They would shorten the number of young players on the bench, allowing for easier evaluation of up-and-coming talent during the 2008 season (it's currently a cluster-you-know-what at the 2/3).

Finally, while I'm personally a Shaddy guy in terms of the Shaddy v Foye death match, I believe this trade works (for both teams) with McCants as the 2nd player.  Cleveland could definitely use an off-guard that can get his own shot and shoot 40% from 3.  Mike Brown could probably even get Shaddy to play a little d.  I mention this because I don't want folks to get caught up on the "holy crap, he's saying the Wolves should trade Foye" aspect of this post.  Like their games, Foye and Shaddy offer pretty much the same thing towards this deal: a resolved roster for the Wolves and roughly $3 1/2 mil off the books. 

Ideally, this trade would allow the Wolves to move on the best available 3 in next year's free agency (hopefully Deng or Smith; possibly Granger or Hedo) while maintaining their draft assets for a run at one of the best available combo/point/off-guards: Jennings, Evans, Rubio, Curry, Derozan, or Calathes.  They also clear enough cap space to re-sign any players that may deserve it or to bring Pekovic over with a nice deal in 2010. As is always the case with Mega Deal Mondays (On a Wednesday), here's our ideal 2010 lineup:

  1. Bassy/(Curry/Calathes)
  2. Miller/McCants/(Curry/Calathes)/Brewer
  3. (2009 free agent 3)/Gomes/Brewer
  4. Jefferson/Love
  5. Pekovic/Jefferson/Love

The Wolves have an opportunity to be major players in next year's free agency market, which sould be a bit slow as each and every other team in the league prepares for the mess in 2010.  By deciding the victor of the Shaddy v. Foye Death Match, and by attaching the loser to a deal including Cardinal for an 2008 expiring contract, they can accomplish this goal.  They also benefit by trimming down the roster in 2008 to a more managable level.  The final benefit of the trade is that by waiting 2 months after Cardinal was moved to the Wolves, the FO should have a pretty decent idea of who will be available in the 2009 free agency market.  Will Deng be off the scene?  Will Smith sign a 1 year tender?  If it looks like the 2009 free agent season will be void of the kind of talent they want, they simply don't make the trade and wait another year. 

Until later.