Welcome to the twenty-sixth installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Jerry Bulone and Dan Pilar sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around the Anderson Varejao trade mess, Dion Waiters’ growing pains, other trade possibilities, the better NBA Conference and Rudy Gay scenarios.
First Question: Should the Cavaliers have acted on trading Anderson Varejao right away following the center going down at Quicken Loans Arena against the Toronto Raptors?
Jerry Bulone: I think with all trade talk, there are a lot of moving parts; things that go on behind the scenes, etc. So maybe they did try and were unsuccessful, or maybe they felt better staying pat and waiting how the injury played out. All the while hoping potential suitors for Varejao got a little more desperate. Either way I think the Cavaliers’ brass are fine with having to hold on to Varejao for another season.
Dan Pilar: I don’t want to say I told you so, but I did. Now this injury is really going to damage the future of this franchise. Coming into this year we had the assets to have three first round draft picks and Varejao as trade bait. But with the poor performances from the Sacramento Kings and Los Angles Lakers this season, we’re in danger of losing the rights to their first round picks, not to mention the fact that Varejao’s value has been cut in half. He was putting up career numbers before this injury, so we can only hope we comes back around the All-Star break just as strong in order to get a decent draft pick for him.
Second Question: What is Byron Scott to do with Dion Waiters, who is shooting 35.0 percent from 16-23 feet out as of January 2, regarding shot selection?
JB: The curious case of Dion Waiters is actually not that puzzling. He is trying to take the ball to the basket, but he seems to never get the foul calls. So he gets frustrated and jacks up forced long-range jumpers. It is a typical response by a player who is so young and inexperienced. I say put him back in the starting lineup (it’s not like Miles is much of an upgrade), and let him continue to cut his teeth during a long and demanding NBA season.
DP: This morning our editor wrote about Waiters’ Philly mentality and I couldn’t agree more about what he said. It got him in trouble at Syracuse, which caused him to be a bench player. We needed someone to make up for all the shots we were going to be missing with Antawn Jamison gone. I applaud his confidence. You don’t see many rookies who have the sureness to take a defender off the dribble and create their own shot. However, some of his shots can be stupid, but the fact is, him and Kyrie are still learning how to play with each other. When Irving is off the court, I have confidence in Waiters to lead the offense. How many other rookies can you say that about? Besides Damian Lillard…
Third Question: With Varejao out six-eight weeks, should Cleveland still attempt to make a move before the trade deadline with any other pieces?
JB: Quite simply, Varejao will not be traded this year. Even if he heals fast (which is usually not the case with him) he will not get healthy until a few days before the deadline. With Cavaliers GM Chris Grant in no rush to deal Varejao at any other time in his tenure, there is no reason to think he would rush then. There are also no players that Cleveland is willing to part with that would have teams reaching out for a trade.
DP: All the talk is about Rudy Gay, and I love him. He is a great size and talent for a small forward who can be a great complimentary player to Kyrie. But the reality of the situation is Gay is owed $40 million over the next two years. The Cavs won’t be a legit contender until his contract is up, and don’t think it will be worth giving up the assets it will take to get him. If they do make a move, I don’t see it being anything significant. This team is fully invested in developing Waiters, Zeller, Irving and Kevin Jones. Whether you like it or not, this is the foundation of our team and we’re going to build upon it.
Fourth Question: Will the 2012-13 NBA champion come out of the Western or Eastern Conference?
JB: To me it’s a two-pony race this season between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. The Heat were already the best team going into this season, and then they added Ray Allen to the mix. I just don’t see anyone who can beat them four out of seven times. I know the Heat have looked suspect at times this year, but when the bright lights of the playoffs are on, my money is on the Heat (unfortunately).
DP: I’m going to go Western Conference. The Los Angles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs have all proven to have benches who can score; that is a big factor in the playoffs. Of course the Miami Heat and New York Knicks are going to be contenders in the East, but I just like the Western Conference a little better. The West has a better balance of teams. Any night any team can lose if they don’t play their best.
Fifth Question: Which team do you think will land Rudy Gay, if the Memphis Grizzlies part with him?
JB: I honestly do not think Memphis will move him. I know about all of the financial reasons, and why it would make sense, but at the end of the day, the Grizzlies are 23-10 and only two-and-a-half games out of first place. They have won four out of five games, so amid all the speculation this team is still performing at a high level.
DP: I do believe Memphis will deal him, which makes me question; is Memphis a team that wants to win the Championship? Or are they running their franchise as a bank? This Memphis team is the best it has EVER been, and they’re talking about dealing one of their best players. How much sense does that make? I don’t think they will deal him in the Western Conference because Memphis is still contending, so he’ll end up in the East. A few teams that I can see trying to put a package together for him will be the Charlotte Bobcats and Boston Celtics. I don’t think Boston has enough to deal for him, but I can see them trying to put a package together.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Jerry Bulone and Zak Kolesar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”