Welcome to the ninth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” Every Friday Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and I sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. We answer three questions concerning the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today we will be discussing the Daniel Gibson trade rumors, predictions on whether Anderson Varejao will be donning a different uniform at any point in the 2012-13 season, expectations for the Kyrie Irving-Dion Waiters backcourt, the Los Angeles Lakers as the best team on paper and which player we think is the best free agent still available.
First Question: If the Cavaliers were going to hypothetically trade Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, what would you want in exchange for giving up arguably the team’s best three-point shooter?
Zachary Kolesar: On Thursday the Cavaliers denied rumors that they were shopping guard Daniel Gibson, but I would find it very hard for Cleveland to not listen to any offers that come their way. Gibson still has one year left on his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and he is also due $4.8 million by then. Due to a torn tendon in his left foot and ankle last season, Gibson only logged 35 games following a season in which he topped 10 points per game for the first time in his career. The season before that one he shot a career-high 47.4 percent from three, so although he struggled in his 2011-12 campaign, he is still capable of producing with the Cavs. However, I would be happy with receiving a second-round pick in exchange for Boobie.
Chris Manning: If the Cavs do indeed trade Daniel Gibson, they should get some draft picks in return. Two second round picks or a late first rounder would suffice for “Boobie”. He could provide shooting for a contending team that needs it, like the Celtics, Lakers or Spurs. So if they can get the picks, maybe they should pull the trigger on a deal. My hope is that the Cavs hold on to Boobie. He’s their only consistent three-point threat, and if he’s not on the roster, not one shooter comes to mind to fill the void. Dion Waiters isn’t an elite shooter and either is Kyrie Irving. So, what do they do without Gibson?
Dan Pilar: Gibson is a strong presence on the defensive side of the court and I agree that he is the teams best three-point shooter, but he is so one dimensional on offense that he is no longer a threat. I don’t see the Cavaliers dealing him before the deadline approaches. Not a lot of teams are looking for an undersized shooting guard, with less than average ball handling skills.
Second Question: Anderson Varejao seemed to eek into trade rumors all summer. What are the chances that we see Andy depart from the Wine and Gold at some point in the season?
ZK: Poor Andy. It seems as if his name is thrown into so many trade discussions that no one knows the real truth. On draft day the Cavaliers were supposedly talking about shopping him, he was involved with the Dwight Howard megadeal when Cleveland was thinking about getting involved and most recently he was rumored to have been targeted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. I never truly believed any of this, and I also think that we will see Wild Thing put on a career-best season in Wine and Gold all season long. He will stay a Cavalier.
CM: I don’t think so, simply because he’s their second-best player and a fan favorite. Varejao has been a staple of the Cavs’ roster for years now, and wouldn’t be easily replaced. No big man on the roster can match his energy, his rebounding ability or overall toughness. It should also be noted that he was involved in trade talks with big name players like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. In one such scenario, Bynum would have gone to Cleveland. Those rumors aren’t going to be around anymore with Bynum in Philadelphia and Howard in Los Angeles. So not only shouldn’t they move Varejao, they shouldn’t because there isn’t good enough compensation out there to warrant a deal.
DP: I don’t see the Cavs trading Varejao at any point in the season. Varejao is one of our lone veterans on the team and his energy on offense can fuel the young players. When Dion Waiters isn’t shooting great, Tristan Thompson is in foul trouble, or the crowd just isn’t into the game at all; one of Varejao’s offensive rebounds can give this team a boost. He is part of a handful of players in the NBA who can do that.
Third Question: Kyrie Irving’s hand is healing just at the rate the Cavaliers expected it too and Dion Waiters seems to be back in shape. How do you feel about Cleveland’s backcourt now?
ZK: To know that Waiters has been working hard out in Los Angeles with some teammates and other NBA players makes me feel a lot better than I was after his performance in Las Vegas this summer. The duo’s first matchup against the also young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal will be an interesting first test for Irving and Waiters, and we will finally get to see the two play side-by-side after Irving’s summer league session ended shortly after it started. Hopefully we see good chemistry on the court once the two suit up for their first preseason game.
CM: I’m ecstatic that Kyrie is healing well. Where the Cavs go, he goes, and the sooner he’s ready to play the better. Without him, the Cavs are going nowhere fast. He’s the most important player on the team by far. We’ll see about Waiters. I have high hopes for the Syracuse product, but I want to see him play and go through training camp before I declare my faith in him as a performer. Once Byron Scott tells me he’s in playing shape for 82 games and gives him his seal of approval, I’ll believe it.
DP: I feel the same way now then I did the day after the draft; excited.
These two aren’t going to gel right away, but I really believe that these two can be good for each other. Kyrie has shown signs of the transformation of being a good leader and he will make the relationship between Waiters and himself work. Both can create their own shot from anywhere on the court. My only concern is the relationship between Waiters and Byron Scott. When Waiters was at Syracuse, it was known that he did not start because of his attitude, and Jim Boeheim did not like it. That is something I will be looking at closely when players enter Camp Scott.
Fourth Question: A lot of players and journalists have been saying that the Los Angeles Lakers look like the best team “on paper.” Do you agree with this statement?
ZK: I don’t get it why NBA players like Chris Bosh and Kevin Durant are saying that the Lakers are the best team on paper. It irks me whenever players praise other teams as being/looking better, as they should be working on how they can make themselves better with the players that they have or the ones they picked up in free agency. I don’t like saying that any specific team is the best on paper because on paper every team starts the season with zero wins. You can’t ignore what the Lakers did this offseason, but you can keep your mouth shut when it comes to “praising” how other teams look on paper.
CM: Yes, I do. They are my current pick to win the NBA title, and the trio of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard is the best in the NBA because it makes the Lakers good on all levels. They aren’t weak down low like Miami and Oklahoma City, and their bench is deep too. Additions like Antawn Jamison give them depth they didn’t really have before. I’m very excited to watch this team play and I fully expect them to win the NBA title this season.
DP: On paper they definitely do. My theory is this: if I were to choose a team to play with on NBA 2K13, it would definitely be the Lakers. However, just because you’re good on paper, doesn’t mean it will translate on the court. How will the relationship be between Kobe and Dwight? Will anyone on their bench be able to consistently contribute? These are all pretty big questions the Lakers have to be concerned about and I still believe the best team in the West is Oklahoma City.
Fifth Question: Who is the best free agent still available?
ZK: Shooting guard Leandro Barbosa is shockingly still on the market and has been one of the most consistent bench players in the last seven seasons. At age 29 he is still very capable of being a great sixth man for almost any NBA team. He hasn’t averaged less than 9.5 points in the last seven seasons, which he has played for the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers in that time. He played a big role on Team Brazil in London this summer and can provide a solid 20+ minutes off the bench game in and game out. Look for Barbosa to land with a team relatively soon, as training camp is nearing the one-month-away mark. He can still put up 45/40/80 (field goal/three point/free throw) shooting percentages, and that’s considerably good for a player his age coming off the bench.
CM: I’m very high on Michael Redd. The former Buckeye standout has been plagued by knee injuries and his shooting has dropped, but he still can help a team out there off the bench. He shot 31.8 percent from the three last season, which isn’t great, but it’s serviceable. He’d be great on a team like Oklahoma City as James Harden’s backup, or maybe San Antonio as Manu Ginobli’s backup. But no matter what, I like Redd’s chances of helping a contender out.
DP: Kenyon Martin. Not trying to be bias toward my Bearcats, but the free agent market is thin. Martin will sneak his way into a championship contending team midway through the season. My guess is he’ll end up back with the Nets.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning, Dan Pilar and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”