Friday, December 28, 2007

How to Rebuild the Cavs

by Ryan Plungas

The Browns have taken the playoffs out of their hands and put it in Tony Dungy's. The Indians (on paper) have been overtaken by the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central while GM Mark Shapiro sits on his hands and can't pull the trigger on that Dan Haren deal that would have helped nullify the Tigers offensive juggernaut. I get angry thinking about it...Adam Miller is destined for Tommy John any day now, tell me they weren't just asking for Miller, Aaron Laffey, and Ben Francisco. Tell me, please.

And the Cavs are maddenly inconsistent, with a team that obviously overachieved last year thanks to the best overall player in the NBA, LBJ. This team, as it stands now, cannot seriously compete for a championship. Some may argue with me about that, that's fine, but the fire is not there this season. And we're stuck in slary cap hell, until certain contracts come off the books after the 2008-2009 season. The main culprit is Larry Hughes' ridiculous contract which doesn't expire until after 2010 season, same year LBJ can bolt. We have no serious trade assets to get J-Kidd or Kobe (not that he'd fit here), or any other superstar that wants out. But we're stuck in purgatory, and need to find some light before 2010 wjen LeBron can look elsewhere.

My way to rebuild the Cavs....

These two moves.

The first is a way to shed Larry Hughes' contract, and at this point I want NOTHING in return.

Honestly, just to shed his ludicrous deal off the cap is enough. That's all I'm asking. So here's deal #1:

Probably ask New York to throw in a 2nd rounder, too (Hell, maybe even ask Isiah for a unprotected 1st, it can't hurt and who knows what he'll say. There's a 55/45% chance that this could hapen). Again, asking for basically cap relief in return. Malik Rose's $7.5 mill comes off the books after next season (2008-09). And we'll clear the extra 3 mill off the cap with inheriting Fred Jones' contract after this year (very important based off the fact we would be trading way that cap space when we deal away Ira Newble's expiring contract in the next deal I'll suggest, so we'll basically be recouping that money). Wilson Chandler is a former 2007 1st round pick (#21, I believe) that is young, cheap player who may or may not turn into something. Basically the same as Cedric Simmons is to us, but at the 3 position. And relatively cheap.

This first deal improves us Long-term to build around LeBron before he bolts for Free Agency (essentially we'd be shooting for huge cap room for the 2009 offseason, a year before LeBron can bolt), by reducing our cap number for the next few seasons, and getting out of Hughes contract a year early (Rose's $7+ mill expires after 2009, Hughes' $13+ mill wouldn't be till 2010, the rest will be shed after this season with Fred Jones' expiring deal). Hughes is contributing next to nothing on the court, so it's enough for me if we can just shed his contract for next to nothing in return.

This second deal can improve us right now, possibly helping us win this season (by "win", I mean advancing to the 2nd round with an outside shot at the Eastern Conference Finals if things fall our way). It's not the blockbuster that will give us our #2 that my colleagues crave (and as I've said before, we're not getting that guy until we get cap room in 2009 offseason or maybe at the trade deadline in Feb. 2009 season when all those expiring contracts will be valuable assets), but its' a solid deal. It's actually been a strong rumor for quite some time, being reported by the great Brian Windhorst as a potential deal as the trade deadline approaches and Philly falls out of contention (surprisingly, they're still in contention).

Here's Deal #2:

Eh, how about that?

So here is where we would stand after these deals. Hypothetically, after the Feb 21st deadline this year (at the latest), here would be our rotation:
SF LeBron
PF Reggie Evans
C Ilgauskas
SG Sasha
PG Andre Miller

SG/PG Boobie Gibson
PF/C Andy
PF Donyelle Marshall
G/F Devin Brown
SG Fred Jones
PG Eric Snow
PF Malik Rose

C Dwayne Jones
PF/C Cedric Simmons
SF Wilson Chandler

Competitive enough, and most definitely better than what we put out there now. But, and most importantly, we are set-up Long-term to really make some moves. With these deals in place, here would be our cap situation year-by-year:

Expiring deals after this season (2007-2008):
Fred Jones (3.3 million)
Devin Brown (1.2 million)
Dwayne Jones (770,000)
Boobie Gibson (687,500) **(Restricted)**

Total Cap Space cleared: $5.96 million

Most of that cap space will be attributed to the deal they'll have to give Boobie. But they'll also have their full mid-level exception (usually around 5.5 mill) to go after another Free Agent if they wish. I would save that to retain cap flexibility for the next offseason, which will be huge. Probably not a ton of action on the Free Agent front after this season, other than Boobie. But some major trades are a possibility, with the upcoming expiring deals after 2009. Speaking of...

Expiring deals after next season (2008-2009):
Andre Miller (10 million)
Malik Rose (7.5 million)
Eric Snow (7 million)
Donyelle Marshall (5.8 million)
Andy Varejao (5.7 million)
Sasha Pavlovic (4.4 million)
Cedric Simmons (1.8 million)
Wilson Chandler (1.1 million)

Total Cap Space cleared: $43.3 million

Yes. You read that right. 43.3 million of cap space would be coming off the books after next season. Take into consideration that a max player takes around 15 million (give or take) on the front end of a 6 or 7 year deal, that could be 2 MAX players plus another 13 million to sign other Free Agents. Not to mention that ALL these players, ESPECIALLY Snow/Marshall/Rose's of the world, can be MAJOR trade assets at Feb. 20th, 2009 aka next year's trade deadline. The Snow/Marshall/Rose triumphant is basically 20 million of free cap space shed for a team looking to clear money to go into the offseason to spend on the most coveted group of Free Agents possibly EVER assembled. I've mentioned this list before, but here goes again:

Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Kobe, Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Al Harrington, Rasheed Wallace, AI, Danny Granger, Artest, Corey Magette & J-Kidd. Not to mention guys from the 04 draft who rejected extensions and can become Unrestricted Free Agents in summer of 09: Josh Smith, Andre Iguodola, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, and Luol Deng.

True, we will attempt to resign at least one of our own...probably Andy, if he's not still asking for 8-10 million per. Maybe if Sasha comes on stronger by the end of 08-09 we sign him to an economical deal. Maybe even Andre Miller (I wouldn't). But these guys will take up a blip on the radar for our cap room. And true, since we're nearly 20 mill over the cap this year, the $43 million may not be exact (also consider that the salary cap is not set yet for the 2009 offseason, but will most likely be raised...which is a good thing)

The Free Agent market is great that summer. In that season, we can lure some team falling out of contention looking to unload a legit superstar in return for major cap space, ala like a Garnett or AI deal that recently took place.

Expiring deals after 2 years (2009-2010):
LeBron James (about 14 million)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (about 12 million)

Total cap space cleared: $26 million

Will probably want to resign LeBron. We'll see if he's worth a max contract. Let Z walk, he'll be on one foot and will be 35. In fact, we'll probably use him as a trade asset the previous trade deadline (2/20/09) as another expiring deal.

So imagine, if we get a new coach OR Mike Brown morphs into a good coach (i.e. gets an offensive coordinator), and we decide to play more up-tempo considering we have the best open court weapon in the NBA (**ahem** sound familiar? The Browns and CHUD coming in...basically Mike Brown is the NBA equivalent of Romeo Crennel). What about this roster going into the 09-10 season:

PF/C Elton Brand (Max deal, or traded for and signed to an extension, he'll be 30 and still near prime)
PF Josh Smith (Near Max deal...although hsi attitude scares me)
SF LeBron James (Last year of deal)
SG Boobie Gibson (Resigned for like 4 year/22 mill after 07-08 season)
PG J-Kidd (signs for 1 year mid-level, to play with LeBron and win title...not ludicrous)

PF Andy Varejao (signs a 5 year/40 million after 08-09's frontloaded starting at 6 million in first year to save cap space for us)
C Zydrunas (still on roster, but limited bait)
SG/SF James Jones (leading league in 3pt% right now, will be a Free Agent after 08-09...if not too expensive, a perfect fit)
SG Anthony Parker (shooter from Toronto, another solid role player...Free Agent pick-up for veterans minimum--he'll be 34, but currently shooting over 50% from 3 pt, should regress a bit by then but still have value)
PF Reggie Evans (still under contract)
2007 1st rounder
2008 1st rounder
3 other minimum Free Agent pickups/roster spots.

Josh Smith is a bit of a risk. I'll admit that, but the talent is there and he's OK right now in ATLANTA! I mean 17 pts, 8 boards, and 3 blocked shots per game! From an uber-athletic 6'9 PF who will be 23 when he hits Free Agency. If not Smith, then Marion or Iguodola, maybe Arenas. You get the point. The money will be there if we make these deals.

Alright, I'm done.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Whoaaa Nellie...its that time of the year once again...For all of you who don't know, my birthday was in September and there was only 1 thing on my list...and guess what, I was lucky enough to get it....Lets just say, its safe to say you know what I have been doing on my lunch breaks, after work, and 3 hours a day on the weekends....
After missing last years Main Event, I have bulked up to my ideal playing weight that will enable me to be an anchor at LT and a gap stopper going both ways at DT. Unfortunately, this may prohibit me from flanking out at TE and catching my usual 6 passes for 73 yards and TD that ALWAYS goes quietly unnoticed. I think once I get a hold on the line, I will move over to my natural TE spot and block down and then escape into the flats where my big sticky paws will give me some more touches. I forsee this being an absolute battle. I'm beginning to get to the point where I dread walking up the 12 stairs to my apt. after work and find myself praying that I can snap the button on the Levis every time I put them on. Its safe to say by best days are behind me, but that does not mean my heart is gone. Nothing can take away the passion that a man who has 1 day of of competition a year has when he digs deep into the trenches. Its going to be cold, dark, snowy, wet, and muddy but I can't wait to throw on the '01 LCHS practice jersey, put on my long johns, and go to war....I'M A SOLDIER.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not About the Cavs

by Ryan Plungas

Since most of the national pundits seem to be telling us we should be dreading this upcoming Cavs season (I'm looking at you Bill Simmons...not even making the playoffs? In the East? You know we still have LeBron, right?), I will not be discussing that "horrible" team any time soon.

However, something very interesting came out today. Curt Schilling, on his blog, stated the teams that he would view as possible destinations as a Free Agent. The 1st team mentioned on the list? Yup, the Cleveland Indians.

At first I was like, "Nah, no need for him. He's gonna be too expensive, and not what he used to be." But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. He's basically like a "rich man's Paul Byrd" (without the HGH) at this point in his career. Will cost a lot more than Byrd, but just imagine his clutch performances in the postseason…it's worth it.

You can slot Schill in as our #4 starter, for chrissakes. How solid would that be? I'd imagine he'd cost us 9-10 million a year, so sign him to a 2-yr deal with a Club Option for a 3rd. Would he do that (2 yrs/20 mill)? We decline Byrd's option, trade away Lee, and that will save us around 6 million, so really its 4 Million that we'd be extending to Schill. Dolan said that when we show we can contend, and the fans come out, he'll open up his checkbook. Let's walk the walk, Mr. Dolan.

Not only would Schill be a better option on the field but he's so outspoken as a clubhouse leader, that he would be comparable to the type of influence that Byrdie was. Schill, to me, is one of those guys that you hate when he's on the opposition but absolutely love if he's on your team. There's no denying the media impact he'll have, notably in the national spotlight…this guy could single-handedly get us the respect and attention we've been looking for from ESPN & FOX. You know FOX would just love to talk about Curt Schilling & the Cleveland Indians next year in October. ESPECIALLY if we're playing the Red Sox, or even the Yanks. Ok, only if we're playing the Red Sox or the Yanks. But I could see them making parrallels to Schilling helping break the Red Sox curse, and now breaking the 60-year "Curse of Rocky Colavito". Schilling would revel in the spotlight.

Just imagine this starting rotation:
CC Sabathia
Fausto Carmona
Jake Westbrook
Curt Schilling
Jeremy Sowers/Adam Miller/Aaron Laffey

Shorten that up in the postseason to the top 4, and that's a better rotation than this year's version. Add to that the calming effect & postseason experience/confidence that Schill could attempt to instill in CC & Fausto, and that'd be worth the 10 mill right there.

What about a Schilling injury? Isn't that inevitable? Sure. Probably would happen in late-May and be out till late-July. That would be great, because in that time we'd finally call up Adam Miller to see what he's got, and then hopefully help groom him for a long-relief role for the playoffs ala Jon Lester & Phil Hughes thsi past October.

What do you guys think about Schilling?

The other move I'd make is that deal for Jason Bay. Preferably I'd like to trade a Cliff Lee (no way Pirates are doing that deal) or Jeremy Sowers (possible, but not sure I'd give up on him quite yet) plus a position player like Ben Francisco. I'd also like to shift Jhonny Peralta to 3rd, use Casey as the ultimate utility guy, move Drubby to SS, and give Barfield a chance at 2B. But that makes waaaay too much sense. So, the answer may be to package Jhonny in that deal for Bay. Jhonny & a middle tier pitching prospect (David Huff?) for Jason Bay? Is Jhonny & Ben Francisco too much for Bay?

We also need to sign a middle to late-inning relief guy. Octavio Dotel comes to mind.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An American in Paris...err...London

What follows is an absolute cornucopia of ignorance and non tolerance, the writer is a well known idiot in many circles throughout the midwest. Please read with caution if you choose to proceed.

"What the fuck? The NFL in London, England? You have to be fucking kidding me" This is a direct quote taken from myself last week when I realized that the event was finally going to happen over the weekend. First off, let me say...this absolutely sickens me. It is a slippery slope here my friends, and it is all part of the good commissioners plan to make the NFL a global commodity. Teams from everywhere and games everywhere. Give me a Goddamn break.

First off let's start with England. They were and are a great ally to this country as far as wars go, and we thank them by backing their global campaigns as well. However, this is AMERICAN football, a sport that is surely the second if not becoming are preeminent national pastime. Especially in England where the game of cricket (yes thats right cricket) is a favorite of locals, they drink tea and eat crumpets, they gave us: Simon Cowell (who may have been one of the worst dictators in the history of the world if he had been born in any of the previous centuries), the Spice Girls, and of course David Beckham...who they conveniently dumped on the U.S. David Beckham is damaged goods and yet I am forced to see this wash up on adidas commercials almost daily.

In England, the most revered sport is their football which of course in this country is referred to as soccer. Watching soccer is like a mixture of watching the grass grow and your Uncle Ned tell his favorite stories of boyhood while growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River. In this country, soccer is played until you are about the age of 7 or 8. At that point you realize one of two things: (1) you are ready to commit yourself to a life of heterosexuality or (2) other sports exist. I'll admit it, I played roughly 4 glorious years of soccer and then an amazing thing happened...I discovered football and basketball...two sports grinded out in American playgrounds all over. Ask yourself, when was the last time you witnessed children playing a pick up game of soccer. I am not willing to share one of my favorite sports with a country who will label it as a second form of football. If any of you are willing to do so...I ask that you promptly renounce your citizenship and seek refuge in another country.

Now, to the slippery slope argument. No sport is seriously considering giving Vegas a team, and there are many other deserving American cities that could use an NFL team before we go abroad. First London...then what. How about Tijuana, when I go to visit I can bang a hooker, catch a donkey show, do some blow thats been cut roughly between 13-14 times, and then maybe catch my beloved Browns take on the Tijuana Banditos...and if we win, maybe leave the stadium with a butterfly knife sticking out of my throat. Or maybe we can go even further abroad. How about trading for that wonderful receiver El Hami Ramel Ketal Khaminjiad from the Pakistani squad? It will be a cold day in hell when I tune in to watch the Super Bowl live from the banks of the Nile in Cairo, Egypt at 5:30 a.m. on a monday morning.

While on the subject I am still angry that we commissioned MLB and NBA teams in Canada. I have met several Canadians through going to Bowling Green and playing online poker. Most of them are quick to tell me that they have a problem with U.S. foreign policy, and that we are cowboys. Damn right I am a fucking cowboy, like a Dallas Cowboy not a Winnipeg Cowyboy, like Yankee Doodle fucking Dandee riding on his pony not Sasketchawan Sam riding on his Moose. Why give these countries a chance to embrace something we hold so sacred that they may in fact reject? I understand from the media that London had a fairly good turn out for the Dolphins-Giants but there is a simple answer to is is like the first time you ever ate Greek food, or the first time you spanked it to transsexual Indian Porno (Williams...) after a few times you go back to a good old hamburger or a little It is not b/c you are mot willing to try new things, but it is because it whats you know, what you are used to, a custom, you love it.

The U.S. already sticks our nose into enough problems that we don't need to (and we are ultimately resented for it). Why create another failure (see NFL Europe) that never needs to happen? Let's keep the
NFL where it belongs: in the United States of America...and while we are at it build a gigantic wall around the whole country so we don't "oppress" our values on others and reduce the chance of absorbing values from another country.

Hows that for the melting pot theory? Hey, I am a ham and cheese kind of guy.

This is not the views of this blog. It is a paid advertisement for drunken and vicodin fueled ramblings. The Wire takes no responsibility for the views of this post or any other post in the future that may contain similar theories. This is pure satire...although to some it may seem like a fountain of wisdom.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

ps my keyboard is a little messed up so excuse the typos