The latest on a couple prospective deals involving upgrades at the three spot off the bench. We’ll start with Anthony Parker, who I profiled in my piece yesterday. Here’s the latest from the Cleveland perspective in the Akron Beacon Journal on a prospective move.
With the NBA’s trade deadline two days away, Parker remains the Cavs’ top target of interest from teams around the league. Both the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics have expressed interest in him, one league source said, but the Cavs want a player in return and not a low draft pick.
They have targeted Omer Asik from the Bulls and Semih Erden from the Celtics, but both teams have been reluctant to part with either player. Asik is 7 feet tall, and Erden is listed at 6-11. Both were second-round picks in 2008.
The Cavs don’t want to give Parker away for a low second-round pick this summer when they already own two second-rounders and believe they could purchase another if they really needed it.
Parker is also in the final year of his deal. The Cavs are hesitant to part with him — they like his high character and his leadership in a young locker room — and would love to bring him back next season. Parker is saying all the right things this week, but it’s unclear how much interest a veteran nearing the end of his career has in a rebuilding project.
”I have expressed my desire to stay, but this is a business, as we all know,” Parker said. ”I feel like I have a lot invested here. I continue to express to want to be here when this thing turns around. I think it’s going in the right direction, we have a good team and we’re taking steps.”
A couple things here. Number one, Parker’s a classy pro so there’s no way he’s going to flat out say he wants out in Cleveland, but realistically is there any way the 35-year-old will want to re-sign? That’s a rebuilding project which will take years, so he clearly won’t be back and it would be foolish of the Cavs to not try to get something for him.
With that said, Cleveland is wisely just trying to use this as leverage to up the price of Parker, one of the most attractive and affordable shooters on the market. So here’s the question I throw out to everyone, is giving up Semih Erden worth a rental of Anthony Parker? And how might the potential signing of Troy Murphy factor into this scenario? Let’s investigate both questions.
Is Erden worth Parker?
In principle probably not. To me though, this isn’t a huge overpay. Erden is 24 years old. Will he still improve more? Probably, as he adapts more to the NBA game and gets comfortable in the USA. Still, I can’t see him being more than a center off the bench in his NBA career, which isn’t a bad role at all.
The C’s have him signed through next year on a minimum deal (about $800k). They need good cheap labor next year, giving they are already committed to about 71 million to ten guys and Erden has proven to be good insurance at the center spot with a nice offensive touch around the basket.
With that said though, I think he is expendable, especially if the C’s are able to bring Troy Murphy into the fold. Danny Ainge has made a habit of finding bargain basements pickups through the course of his tenure and I give him a lot of credit for that. P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, Michael Finley, Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore. Guys that no one else wants, he’s salvaged and given to Doc Rivers to help keep this team afloat in past years, while not taking away from this team’s core or its future.
To me though, this is a year where Ainge has to change that philosophy a little bit. He can’t shortchange this team this year. Not with the roster composed as it is, with so many injuries, and the future so uncertain. The best chance this team has at a title is now, and those chances improve a lot if Doc has a reliable swingman to count on off the bench, and now just some retread (a la Rasual Butler, Morris Peterson, Roger Mason, etc.)
To get that guy, Danny’s going to have to give something up of value, likely a piece like Erden. It’s not ideal, but to get this team over the top it needs help, especially with the Eastern Conference getting more and more loaded for future years. Now’s the time. I don’t think by any means it’s a certainty Semih goes, the team honestly needs his body right now for minutes with both O’Neals on the shelf and Perk banged up. Still, if Murphy is brought into the fold, I hope it gives Danny the capability to let Erden go for a piece of value.
A few other notes of interest from the Journal article:
Both Leon Powe and Jamario Moon are expected to have their contracts bought out, rendering both free agents, but it won’t happen before the trade deadline, a league source said.
Nice to see Leon get out of there, but Moon is the only guy who will be of interest to the C’s. I covered him in my trade piece yesterday, and he’s probably going to be the class of the swingman buyout market, so if the C’s don’t make a deal before Thursday, look for Moon to pop up as a possibility to bring in to replace Marquis for a minimum deal.
Here’s another note from the Houston Chronicle regarding Semih and Shane Battier rumors.
ESPN reported that the Celtics had interest in Battier, but quickly shot that down, pointing out that the Celtics would not be willing to move the players the Rockets would want. Actually, I think the Rockets would be tempted to make the deal if the Celtics would include center Semih Erden, though we’ll probably never know since Boston apparently wants to keep and develop him.
Any deal for Battier would be a lot more complicated than just a Erden for Battier swap. In order to make the salaries work, Nate Robinson and likely Marquis Daniels would have to be included in a deal, along with some cash and draft picks I’m guessing if I’m Houston. The C’s aren’t going to want to give all that up, so a third team needs to get involved in all likelihood and that’s why this trade probably won’t happen. Semih (I hope) isn’t the tipping point here.
Oh, and in case you missed it, Deron Williams has just been dealt to the Nets. The Atlantic Division just got a bit tougher.