Cavs Eying Trade For Wallace? Just Say No

By: T.J. Zuppe

Coming from someone who generally loves his game, this truly hurts to say: The Cleveland Cavaliers should not trade for Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace.

In numerous reports, that originated from Yahoo Sports, sources around the NBA believe the Cavs have given extensive considerations to trading for the 28-year old small forward. In addition, the team is believed to have called the Bobcats to advance talks on dealing for Wallace, who is considered to be on the trading block in Charlotte.

Bobcats Forward Gerald Wallace

According to those same reports, the Cavs are dangling their trade exception they received in the sign and trade of forward Lebron James to the Miami Heat. On top of that, Cleveland is also believed to be interested in acquiring a lottery-protected draft selection as well.

At first glance, the move for Wallace could be considered a positive. The former Sacramento King, now current Bobcat has had a very productive 10-year career in the league.

Wallace’s game evolved even more last season for the surprising Bobcats, as playing alongside forward / guard Stephen Jackson seemed to elevate his overall game.

He averaged 18.2 points and 10 rebounds per contest, including 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, in the 2009-2010 campaign.

However this season has marked a decline in 6-foot-7 Wallace’s numbers, including only scoring at a 16.4 clip, his lowest total since 2005-2006, while snagging 8.1 rebounds in 39 minutes per game.

Part of his decline could be attributed to the chaos in Charlotte, with coaching changes emerging, along with a struggling team overall, one that currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. However, if that is the case, that certainly would not be remedied by a change of scenery to underwhelming Cleveland.

Nothing about playing for the highest chance at the number one selection in the NBA lottery would make any player raise his game to the next level. That could be viewed as an excellent example why a trade for Wallace does not pass the eye test.

Now clearly, Wallace’s propensity to hustle, rebound and out-tough his opponents does look appealing to a team lacking in those areas. It is for those reasons the Cavs have always seemed to have an eye on the talented forward.

However, the most glaring reasons why Cleveland should not attempt a swap do not really involve Wallace’s skill-set at all.

The truth is the Cavs are light-years away from being a legit contender once again. What currently ails the team cannot be fixed with a short-term band-aid. For as much as Wallace brings to the table and truly is one of the more dynamic players in the league, he would not help bring the team more than a handful of more victories.

Bobcats Forward Gerald Wallace

If the long-term is the ultimate goal, those victories could mean the difference in a few notches in the draft order. It is just not worth trying to put that band-aid on a proverbial missing limb.

It just does not make sense.

The other factor that surrounds Wallace is the easiest one to spot – his age.

Even being only 28-years old, 10-years in the league playing in the league, with physicality as your leading attribute, put more miles on the body. Though it will not be a factor this year, or even next, by the time the Cavaliers are truly ready to begin making a run at the playoffs again, Wallace will be nearing the decline.

That of course is if he would even still be a member of the team at that point.

Last season, the deal would make any fan salivate. That is why it is so painful. To think with your heart, Wallace would bring just a bit of excitement to a dull team. But with your head, Wallace is a lateral move, and would mean so much more to a contending team trying to bring home a championship.

But in the sad state of the Cavs, that is just not them, and will not be for years to come.

Update: A number of you have asked me regarding Wallace being used as a bargaining chip in future trades for other draft selections. Just wanted to update, as I did not note above, this blog was approached based just on acquiring for talent alone.

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6 Comments

  1. I disagree. We have a black hole at Small Forward and you could get a borderline all-star, defensive star player. Plus we would be getting someone who really isn’t overpaid and the Cavs aren’t going to be acquiring any free agents any time soon. I think if we were able to hit on our lottery pick this year plus do well on the other 1st rounder they are insisting upon, this could put us back to respectability in no time. Honestly, this trade is a no-brainer.

    Gilbert is willing to spend the cash to take advantage of this asset – I don’t see why we wouldn’t. Truth is, Wallace will help us win some games this year but not enough to take us out of the top 10.

  2. T.J.,

    I think your missing the whole point of this potential trade. The Cavs would not be trading for Gerald Wallace to try and become some kind of contender in the near future, their first priority would be to add a first round pick (even if it’s lottery protected) which could yield a decent young player, but also to use Wallace himself as a trading chip next year since he only has 2 more years on his contract. With injuries in the NBA, and with Wallace’s skill-set and the fact he would still being under 30, a contender would definitely be interested in his services. And if Grant can get creative next year and package Wallace with Varejao in a 3 or 4 team deal, it could yield some very nice draft picks and/or young talent back to Cleveland, which is what we need to build a contender.

    Also, the timing of this possible trade is a bit peculiar wouldn’t you say? Right after this supposed done deal with Carmelo to NJ crashed, this comes out? I think Grant is trying to leverage what he has in the trade exception with possibly getting Wallace to force Denver’s hand a bit. Very clever ploy that many GM’s enact.
    I strongly consider the Wallace trade if I’m Cleveland.

    Lastly, thanks for your post I enjoy reading everything on ESPN Cleveland!

  3. First thank you for the response Mark. Trust me, its hard to say no to Wallace. He’s truly one of my favorite players to watch in the NBA, and loved the strides he made last season. He would make sense for so many teams to pursue, but just don’t think the move makes sense for the Cavs.

    Last season, however, would have greatly enjoyed him wearing the wine and gold.

  4. Thank you for the kind words Brad. I’m aware of the potential extensions that could result from a trade from Wallace. Other names have surfaced as well.

    However as I noted on twitter, I’m only approaching this entry from a pure talent standpoint. If we see more indications that it could be more of a chip to play for future draft selections, I could alter my stance. To this point that is only speculation, as is the case most of the time, this time of year.

    Thanks for reading!

    • Fair enough. And I agree with you that if the Cavs are going after him as a quick remedy for the next few years, it would be a mistake. We certainly don’t need anymore aging veterans with big salaries on this team unless of course they do have a broader plan of using him as a chip. Hopefully we can pull off a decent trade or two and put ourselves in a position to at least acquire some more draft picks and/or younger talent.

      Thanks for the reply T.J.!

  5. oh please, god. no.


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