The trade rumors are swirling and like every year the Cavaliers seem to be right in the middle of it. Unlike last year at this time, however, that Cavaliers might be in a position to hold fast and avoid upsetting their financial flexibility in the future. On the other hand, the team sits at 40-11, the 3rd best record in the NBA, and look to be a serious contender for a championship. Decisions, decisions.
To be honest, I was of the opinion all along that a move would be a big mistake for the Cavs. I could go into psychological reasons that venture deep into the human spirit, but thankfully for the both of us I need only point to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were one of the winningest franchises in the NBA the last 5 years before making a move at the deadline last year the substantially changed the makeup of their team. When the Suns acquired Shaq, they were signaling to the rest of the League that they didn;t feel they could win a title while running Mike D'Antoni's "run and run some more" style. Shaq, while still a force, would not be able to run up and down the floor that way. The result has been a complete failure. The team the Cavaliers played last week at the Q was a shell of those Suns teams.
What Phoenix failed to realize was how the impact moving Shawn Marion and changing the style of play would affect the locker room. It nearly destroyed it. Shaq was unhappy, Amare Stoudemire was unhappy, Steve Nash was unhappy and the results showed.
The Suns nearly made the same mistake again, this time with Stoudemire. While something could still possibly happen, it appears the Suns got smart just in time.
I bring this up becuase one of the Cavaliers strengths is thei cohesiveness as a team on and off the court. That intangible cannot be ignored or undervalued. It is actually scary to think what this team could be doing if the injuries hadn't settled in. 40-11, with 2 starters missing double-digit games. More importantly these guys enjoy playing together and have taken a "whatever it takes" approach to playing basketball. Those are the keys to winning in the playoffs.
The Cavaliers are doing the right thing by checking out every possible deal, leaving no stone unturned. In the end, however, the risks, both financial and psycological, to making a move with a team that is so close on and off the courth far out-weigh the rewards.