First of all. I just have to say how much the jamison trade was just brilliant. we gave up almost nothing for him. we did give up Z but there is still a decent shot Z signs back with us.
I have decided to go over the trades over the last couple years and seriously look at how this team has changed. First though we have to look at the roster that made it to the finals. This roster had such names as Damon Jones, Scott Pollard, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, and Larry Hughes. Many of these guys were guys Ferry got but did not work out. We got to the Finals but got destroyed. I think that loss in a way was key. It seemed to have changed Ferry. He took a much more active role in forming the team. Instead of just going after a few free agents, he tried to get players that fit Mike Browns system and would complement Lebron. He learned from his mistakes like Donyell and Hughes and tried to truly build a championship team.
Lets Zoom to late February 2008. The team is struggling and many guys Ferry had acquired in Free agency such as Damon Jones (but I still love to call him Amon Ones) and Donyell Marshall, were struggling. Ferry felt like he needed to do something, so he pulled off a trade. This is what he traded:
-We give up Donyell, Ira Newble, Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Shannon Brown, Cedric Simmons, and in return we get Wally Z, Ben Wallace, Delonte West, Joe Smith, and a 2009 Draft pick which we used on Danny Green.
This trade is just ridiculous looking back. Donyell at the time was averaging less than 4 points and 3 rebounds. Larry Hughes was a big problem and Gooden just wasn't doing it anymore. Gooden would look like a superstar one game and then a scrub the next, you just never knew what you would get. Larry Hughes was way too passive as a player and refused to drive, but was really the only player out of the first batch of free agents that really bought into the defensive. What we got in this trade was great. We got a defensive presense in the post in Ben Wallace which we needed, we got a lights out 3 point shooter in Wally (when he got acclimated) and we got Delonte who has been a great addition and was always underrated his whole career. Delonte can pass it, is very active on defense, and can shoot the 3; basically he is a perfect fit for the Mike Brown system and a great complement to lebron. We also got the draft pick that got Danny Green who has been a pleasant surprise. Joe Smith was a very nice addition as a veteran. Smith was a solid defender, and was a great veteran presence.
Not Satisfied, Danny ferry looked to a trade again. He was disappointed in the close losses during the Boston Series that went 7 games. there is a glaring hole on this team: 3 point shooting and a good scorer in the backcourt. Daniel Gibson and Delonte West were nice players, but the Cavs did not have that dominant scorer in the backcourt that could take pressure off of LeBron and maybe turn the tide in that series. In come the Milwaukee Bucks and Mo Williams. Williams was an emerging star at the point guard position. At the time he was 25 and was improving every season. Again Ferry pulls off a miraculous deal. He pulls of a 3 team deal for the 2nd time that year (and both involved the Sonics/Thunder organization) and gets the point guard he wants. Again the Cavaliers and Ferry committed highway robbery
-We got Mo Williams and all we had to give up was Damon Jones and Joe Smith. Even at the time, this just looks like a steal. A 25 year old on the brink for just a couple somewhat washed out veterans. Damon Jones was a headcase who only wanted to boost his own stats. Smith, even with his age, was a significant loss, but his loss was much less than the gain of Mo WIlliams. Mo could pass, he could drive, and he could shoot from anywhere on the court. the only criticism was if he would buy in defensively which he did. Smith was not as big of a loss as we thought at the time, because the Thunder bought out his contract and we got him for about 1/3 of the season.
Again, the Cavs lost in the conference finals. Ferry again goes out and wants to change the team. In the series against Orlando, we got dominated in the paint. Dwight howard just destroyed us, especially in the clinching game, game 6. We needed a low post threat not only on defense, but on offense too. In steps in Steve Kerr offering up Shaq. All he is asking for is Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic, and a 2nd round pick. Pavlovic has never been good, and although Wallace was good for a while, he was definitely slowing down. Wallace was also a complete nonfactor on offense and that let Orlando double team Lebron and Mo more.
Shaq is not the player he once was but is still a solid offensive player and a good defender in the post. He has historically given Dwight Howard trouble when defending him. Shaq still has the strength to dominate at times in the post. This trade again was a steal because both were either waived or agreed to buyouts and neither one is on Phoenix. It was a salary dump from Phoenix and we benefitted.
Also, During the Offseason, Ferry went out and got some very nice free agents. We were manhandled by the bigger, more athletic guards against Orlando like Turkoglu and Petrius. To counter this, Ferry got Jamario Moon Anthony parker, who is a big guard, who can play D. Jamario Moon is very long and athletic and defends well, and Parker has good size for a guard, passes well, has a great 3 point shot, and is an active defender. We also got an injured Leon Powe who has not yet produced much to the team but is an active big man on the defensive end and has great strength.
The Cavs were having a spectacular season but Ferry wasn't done. At the trading Deadline of 2010, he pulled another fast one on everyone. The whole world seemed to think that he truly wanted Amare and was going to get him. Instead he picked up Antawan Jamison who is a star in his own right. With Jamison, we get a guy who can score a variety of ways. He can shoot the 3, the midrange shot, drive to the weak side, and post up. He is also a hard worker on defense and is a very solid rebounder. He is a veteran presence and although he is a scorer, he is pretty unselfish and a good team player, and give a lot of energy and works hard. Although he is 33, he has been very consistent over the last several years. Many (including me) believe that Ferry was never seriously after Amare. Ferry really wanted jamison but wanted to put pressure on Wizards to get the deal He wanted. So for Jamison, we gave up Z (who I do miss), the rights to a player in the European leagues, and our first round pick in 2010, which will be very low in the first round.
Only 2 players remain from when Ferry took over the team in 2005 and only 3 remain from the 2007 finals team were on the team. These 3 players are Lebron, Boobie, and Andy. in 3 seasons, Danny Ferry has completely rebuilt the team without having a down (or "rebuilding") season. This is a miraculous feat in of itself, but also consider that this team not only has some very great young pieces, but is so much more talented. Look back on that team...I can't believe we even made it that far. If you consider we basically traded that roster (Gooden, Donyell, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Shannon Brown, Ira Newble, Sasha, and a couple future picks) for what we have now (Mo Williams, Delonte, Shaq, Jamison, and Danny Green) it is amazing. I cannot think of any person who would not do that in a heartbeat.
Obviously everyone knows about the trade prowess of Danny ferry but one overlooked area is drafting. Granted, Danny Ferry did not always have a ton of good picks to work with.
-His first year, we had the 25th pick, his second season drafting, we did once have the 24th pick in the draft, but we had traded it to Boston in the infamous trade for the infamous Jiri Welsch.
-We did also have the 22nd pick in the draft which Ferry did trade for Sasha Pavlovic. The guy taken, Jared Dudley, has not been spectacular, but he is definitely better than Sasha. This is the only trade screwup I could find in the history of Danny Ferry (and the difference between Sasha and Jared Dudley or WIlson Chandler isn't something to fuss over at all).
-The highest Ferry ever picked was 19 when he took JJ.
Analyzing the drafts:
-This was his first year drafting (he was hired the day before the '05 draft, and we didn't have any picks in that draft) and he did well. In the first round we took Shannon Brown. While Brown never worked out for the Cavs, he has found a niche with the Lakers in their system. Considering the options at the time, it still was a good Pick.
-We also had the 55th pick in this draft. With this pick we took a European League Nigerian named Ejike Ugboaja. He still hasn't played in the NBA but no one drafted after him has made any sort of impact either.
-The star of this draft though was our 42nd pick where we took Boobie Gibson. This was not originally our pick though. We originally got it from Philadelphia and all we had to give them was Lee Nailon so really, nothing. This trade was a steal because Boobie has turned into a good player. Only a couple of guys drafted after him have been even halfway decent so far in their NBA career
-No Picks because of Jiri Welsh. Thank you Jim Paxon in all of your Brilliance. We also traded a first rounder from this draft for Sasha Pavlovic .
-This was the beacon year for Ferry as drafting. He had the highest pick he had ever had with the 19th overall pick. When you look at Hickson, this was a great pickup. Here are some of the career PERs for guys drafted in the picks after Hickson (although PER isn't everything it shows production and contributions made)
----12.5, 12.6, 13, 11.8, 11.4...Hickson's career PER is 13.6 The only guy who has a higher PER in either season than Hickson is having this year is Ryan Anderson who has a PER slightly higher than Hickson's is now. Hickson coming out was probably one of the most raw players out of the PERs I mentioned (Courtney Cee, Ryan Anderson, Kosta Koufos, CDR, and Super Mario). Looking back it is always easy to judge things like this and it is still early, but looking back, Ferry looks brilliant here. Hickson has been the most productive player we could have drafted, AND he probably has one of the highest ceilings. Love Hickson or hate him, it is hard to criticize the move drafting him.
-This draft wasn't all about Hickson. With the 52nd pick we took Darnell Jackson. While he has not contributed much, there really isn't a player drafted that low that has made more of an impact in the NBA. He is a solid defender in the post and is strong. Then, with the 56th pick we took Sasha Kaun. Kaun is still playing over in russia but he is a 7 footer and a nice player. both of these guys we bought the rights to, for cash considerations (basically chump change). Both are smart players and Kaun has a fairly high ceiling.
-With our first rounder, which was the last pick in the first round, we took Christian Eyenga. He is a 6'6 G/F who is still extremely raw. He is not a polished shooter yet, but is active on defense and is great driving to the basket and slashing. his athletic skills are great and his is big and fairly strong, but he is still extremely raw and we probably won't see him for another year or 2 (he is only 20 anyways). It is too early to judge at all if he will be good but he showed flashes of greatness in the summer league this year.
-With the 46th pick, we picked up Danny Green. It is definitely too early to tell on him but for where we drafted him, he is a very nice player. A second rounder giving really any contribution his rookie year is rare and Green has been pretty reliable.
-We also got Emir Preldžič who we traded the rights of for Jamison. This I honestly don't care about because the guy is 22 and he looks like he is still a couple years away from even being ready for the NBA.
I want to give grades for ferry for My opinions of the Jobs he has done in certain areas including Drafting, Trading, and Free Agent Signing.
In 2005, he came in and the team was just in ruins really. Hearing some of the names (like Luke Jackson, Welsch, Diop, Dajuan Wagner, McInnis, Luscious Harris) truly makes me depressed thinking about it. Ownership got rid of Paul Silas and Jim Paxon who had decimated the team and only made 2 good moves; trading away Tony Battie and 2 second rounders for Andy and Gooden, and picking Lebron (though the latter was a no brainer decision). Ferry came in and installed a new coach in Mike Brown and tried to build the franchise up to a championship team.
- Drafting: Ferry never had anything miraculous to work with. He never had a lottery pick and only once had a pick inside the top 20. With that pick, at 19, he truly picked the best player available. Not only has Hickson produced on the court, but he still has tremendous upside. All of his first rounders have been good players and have produced well considering where they were drafted. Although Shannon Brown never worked out here, it was still a solid draft pick. He definitely had some misses in the second round, but the 2nd round of the NBA draft (and even sometimes the end of the first) is just a complete crapshoot. quite a few players we drafted in the 50s and you are lucky if those players ever see the court. Sadly none of those draft picks ever did, but we had 3 very solid picks in the 2nd that have worked out well and were good grabs. in 2006, we grabbed Boobie Gibson who has played very well. In '08 we got Darnell Jackson and this past year we got Danny Green. both are on the team still, which, even with players drafted where they were (the 40s overall), is still somewhat of an accomplishment... Overall Grade A- (only a minus b/c Shannon Brown never worked out here, and he traded away the 22nd overall pick one year for Sasha).
- Signing Free Agents: For Ferry, this was probably his worst category. He definitely had his ups and downs but he figured it out in the end. In 2005, he wanted to truly form the team after getting rid of a lot of not so great players. He brought in Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, and Donyell Marshall. The theory with these guys is that Jones was a shooter who could Knock down 3s, Donyell was an Inside-Outside guy who could rebound, score, and shoot, plus get some blocks, and Hughes could drive to the hoop and was a Decent passer. Hughes however was extremely injury prone and after one injury, he went from a guy who loved to drive to the hoop to a guy who was scared of it; he seemed to be off mentally after the injury. Damon Jones never bought into the Defensive system. He just wanted to put up big numbers and shoot 3s all day. Donyell was getting older and he could get blocks on a bad defense, but did not buy into well the team defense idea of Mike Brown. This group of Free agents were a bust.
Along the way though, Ferry got better and learned from his mistakes. He did not ever sign a huge group of free agents like that again, but found nice players every year; guys like Devin Brown, Terance Kinsey, Lorenzeen Wright, Jawad Williams, Joe Smith (after we traded him and he got bought out), Anthony Parker, and Jamario Moon. The best out of the bunch turned out to be maybe the guys we got this year (Williams, Parker, and Moon). They have all been solid contributors and I have liked how Parker has played and been lights out from 3 point land as a starter. Also, I give Ferry credit for resigning Delonte and Andy because it wasn't a guarantee that those guys would come back (Delonte almost went to europe). Overall Grade B. While Ferry failed at the beginning, he found many nice pieces along the way and when he had to, resigned pieces and didn't let them leave.
- Trades: Now this category I have gone over the most in here. Some of the trades pulled off were pretty amazing. He really didn't start the trading until we lost in the Finals and he realized the guys in place weren't working. He traded mostly just pieces that didn't fit (Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Donyell, Shannon Brown, Gooden, Cedri Simmons, Joe Smith who we would later resign, Z who still might come back, and Sasha). He also pulled off minor deals that are not talked about as much. He traded Lee Nailon for the pick that got us Boobie (Boobie for Nailon...not bad). His first year he traded Mike Wilks (who has played only 76 NBA games since in 3.5 years) for Flip Murray and for all the pain he caused us at times, it was a brilliant move. He also acquired two 2nd round picks in the last 2 years who he used on Darnell Jackson and Danny Green. The one move I still just don't like is trading the 22nd overall pick for Sasha Pavlovic. Granted, it was a high pick and no one taken around there was anything that special, but I still don't like the deal. Overall though, some of the trades he pulled off looking back are unbelievable. he got rid of so many bad contracts and picked up Delonte, Mo, Jamison, and Shaq.
-Quick fun fact i just looked up. in the season where we lost to the Celtics in the playoffs, the team was 20th in offensive rating. the next year, with Delonte and Mo the whole year and both acclimated to the system, that number shoots up to 4th. We jumped more than HALF the league.
Overall Grade: A++. Not everyone is perfect and he did screw up by trading for Sasha, but covered it up by using Sasha to get Shaq.
Overall Grade on his body of Work: A. While it was rocky at the beginning, Ferry has now established himself as an elite GM in the league and is turning the Cavs into an NBA flagship franchise.