With Mike Brown back, the lottery still pending, and the Cavs not expected to make many, if any, big FA moves, we are left with one thing to speculate: Trades.
We all know the bounty of assets the Cavs have in terms of cap space, picks and young players. If any team can pull off a big trade right now, it's the Cavs. Of course, you need a dance partner.
In terms of big guys to purse, Lamarcus Aldridge, Demarcus Cousins, Al Horford and Kevin Love are four names tossed around the most. All could potentially be traded. Of the 4, only Horford was on a playoff contender this year (although Portland was until the final month), and the Hawks have an impending rebuild to focus on.
Obviously, the Cavs could only acquire 1 of the four. So the question becomes: which one would/should the Cavs go after?
A few notes:
- I am assuming all of the four will cost roughly the same in terms of assets for the sake of this. I know this might not actually be true, but we'll cross that bridge later.
- I am assuming either Andy or Tigger will have to be traded in any deal, so I will consider how they fit with either player.
- The draft has no effect on this.
- Numbers are basketballreference.com
I will compare each player, an see if I can get a consensus.For the record, Love has the highest career PER at 22.1, with the other 3 in the 18-19 range.
Scoring - Love, Cousins and Aldridge all check in with a little under 20 points/36 minutes, while Horford checks in near 15. Cousins gets a slight nod over Love given how he began at 17.4 as a rook. Aldridge has shown slow but steady growth his entire career.
Shooting efficiency - Love and Horford are comfortably ahead in this category. Aldridge has remained remarkably consistent, with increased scoring coming from increased usage. Cousins is a little deficient here, but youth and team help account for that. Love's up and down 3 pt. shooting makes his TS% fluctuate more, and his overall numbers are a little lower, so I give Horford an edge due to consistency.
Shot selection - Going by shot charts is tricky. I don't have career data for shots % from different areas. In general, Cousins is the most "basket centric" player, Love is the most perimeter oriented, and Horford and Aldridge are pretty well rounded. Love is the only one who shoots 3's with any regularity.
Rebounding - Love has the clear edge here. Leads the four in OREB%, DREB% and was in the top 4 leaguewide in REB% the previous 4 years. Cousins and Horford are solid, reliable rebounders and Aldridge is definitely the lowest of the 4.
Assist/TOs - Aldridge has the best ratio. Cousins has the highest ASST%, but also a turnover % of 15%. Love and Horford are close to even. Pretty much a wash, although Cousins TOs scare me a little.
Defense - Defensive metrics are very "noisy" meaning they are team dependent. Using STL%, BLK% and DWS, Horford and Aldridge have strikingly similar profiles. Cousins gets a lot of steals, but his DWS is lower. Love is the worst of the four. Again, the guys who played for the perennial playoff contenders get a boost here.
Age/Wear - This is Cousins' area. He is by the far the youngest, and missed a total of 10 games in 3 years. Aldridge has pretty dependable, not missing more than a handful of games since his rookie year. Horford has been pretty consistent, save his injury last year. After playing 81 games as a rook, Love has missed at least 10 a year. Love is also the 2nd youngest.
Contract - Cousins is still on his rookie deal. It's up during 2014, so his cap hold that summer will still be hefty, although still just under 10 million. Horford is at 12 million, while the other 2 are around 15 million. If we need to squeeze a few extra million to sign someone in 2014, Cousins gives us some room.
Fit with TT/Varejao - This is subjective, but I think Love fits the best. He can operate more on the perimeter while Andy/Tigger work on P&R or TT develops his low post game. Cousins might clog things up too much. Aldridge and Horford fit well, but not great.
After going through this, I still feel Love is the best options. He's the best overall player, IMO, and fits the best in our offense. His defense and injuries are concerning (no wonder he and Kyrie make commercials together!). Aldridge and Horford are remarkably similar, but I'd give the nod to Horford due to age, salary and being a better rebounder. Cousins is the worst fit of the four and his attitude is a red flag. His youth and upside are his strong points, but all of them are under 30 and already good players in the own right.
So my preference, in order, is Love, Horford, Aldridge, Cousins, assuming each will cost the same assets. What say you, FTS brethren?