Can you picture Michael Redd in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform? I did a few times during game four of the Cavs-Wizards series Sunday afternoon, especially on the Cavs final offensive possession.
When Lebron James drove to his left in the final 10 seconds, game tied at 97, drew the Wizards double-team and fired the ball into the corner to an open Delonte West, I saw what the Cavaliers envisioned in the summer of 2005 when they bid on the free agent services of Michael Redd. The Cavs imagined Michael Redd as their shooting guard, set up in three-point territory on the baseline, taking the pass from Lebron and draining the shot. They could not possibly have figured on Delonte West, a point guard picked up this year from Seattle just a few minutes before the trading deadline.
Fortunately for the Cavs, on Sunday that is, they fell $20 million short in their bid for Redd. West hit the three for the 100-97 game-winner. Maybe Redd hits it, maybe he doesn’t. Who knows? After the game, James talked about how important the shot was for the playoff confidence of his young point guard, West — who looks as though he’d be more at home on a Sunday tagging the side of a train in Philadelphia than playing in the NBA playoffs.
Confidence-builder? Lebron, baby, you can’t win a title if you’re still working on your teammates’ confidence in the playoffs. No wonder the Wizards and that Stevenson thug think they can win the series by roughing things up. This is the playoffs!!!
I started to feel so badly for my buddy Lebron, who I’ve known since his college ball days, that I gave him a call. He picked up his cell on the first ring, because, well, I’m pretty sure I still owe him money. Can’t rightly recall at the moment.
“Hey ‘Bron – great pass. You looked like Oscar Robertson on that play – textbook.”
“J-Mo, you never saw Oscar play.”
“All right, Larry Bird then.”
“Look man, don’t make me hang up on you! I know what you’re calling about, anyway. How many times do I have to tell you I don’t run this team?”
“But I don’t believe you. … So how about it? Delonte’s probably a great guy but … c’mon, Michael Redd?
“How come you’re always trying to get me to take Michael? I tried before and it didn’t work.”
“We gotta new GM. Smart guy from Detroit. And the new coach is buddies with the coach Redd threw under the proverbial bus all year. Redd can’t stay here.”
“But why me? I already got one guy on my team that makes more money than I do (Big Ben Wallace). What makes you think I want two?”
“He gives a bunch of his salary to charity, ‘Bron. It’ll be good for Cleveland. And he’s from Columbus, isn’t he? Think of Ohio. Look, what I’m really trying to do here is save the guy’s career. If he stays here, Scott Skiles’ll kill him, one way or another. If he goes to a lousy team, he’ll just keep playing the way he’s playing and he’ll never be on a winner. With you, he CAN’T play his way because YOU’VE got the ball. I’m doing this for his own good. Think of the assists!”
“I do like the dimes.”
“Dimes are the thing. He was fine in the FIBA qualifying games, wasn’t he?”
“Yeah, that worked out good.”
“All you gotta do is figure out which one of the young guys you want to part with.”
“You’re killing me, J-Mo. I can’t separate Delonte and Danny (Gibson). They’re like two puppies from the same litter, finally reunited when Delonte got here. I gotta look at Wallace and Ilgauskas every day – I need those little guys. They’re funny. Plus they’re free agents.”
“Yeah but they’re too small – you can’t keep ’em both. You only get one. You knew this day was coming. Sign and trade, baby.”
“Alright, alright. Well, after today, I guess you gotta take Danny. West sure has got some grit in him. Needs a course in public speaking, tho.”
“What else are you fans in Milwaukee going to do for me?”
“I’m sitting down.”
“We’ll take Wally.”
(Loud crashing noise on Lebron’s end).
“You’ll WHAT? Did I hear that right? Wally’s only got one year left on his contract. You get a player for one year.”
“We’ll take him, bad ankles, $12 million contract for a year and all. We need him. We’ve just lost a coach with a silent “K” of all things in his name, and we can’t ball in Milwaukee without a guy who’s name you can’t spell. Right now, I’m just gonna keep calling him Wally ‘cuz I’m not ready to spell S-c-z-c-e-r-b-i-a-k right. Was that close?”
“Man, I think you got it!”
“Really? First try!”
“Wait a minute, how many zee’s you got?
“I got one. I got two cee’s and one zee.”
“There’s two zee’s, that much I know. I don’t know where they go. He’s only been on my team a coupla months. Sorry bro.”
“You okay? I heard a loud crash over there.”
“Yeah, I’m fine. That was just Ilgauskus and Wallace again, tearing apart the visitors’ locker room.”
“You guys just won – how can they be fighting?”
“Who says they’re fighting? They do that for kicks. Man, you know I played with Z for years and he never talked, not once to anybody, just went about his business with the same stone expression on his face, never even cracked a smile.”
“Nev — (Another loud crash). ‘Bron, what’s going on over there?”
“I told y– HEY Z WATCH IT!!!! Not even once. Then one day, Big Ben walks onto our practice floor, first time, I look over at Z and his face lights up and he’s got this big grin on and I look over at Big Ben and he’s laughin’. Can you picture that, Big Ben laughin’? Crazy. They’ve been thick ever since. It’s like living with two bears, J-mo!!!
(Another loud crash) WALLACE, that’s MY MOM!!! Sorry man, I GOTTA go …”
“What about Wally?”
“Done deal!!! You don’t even have to tell me the real reason why. I gotta g-..”
“Well, we need the salary cap flexibility more than we need a -“
Done. Bucks get Daniel Gibson, a 21-year-old guard who, as a rookie out of Texas played the point 20 games in the playoffs last year and this season shot 44 percent from three-point land. Wally couldn’t get in the game in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Wizards because the kids, Gibson and West, were playing too well to take out. This season, Gibson makes about $500,000 and will be a free agent, but shouldn’t be very expensive (he was hurt part of the season). Plus the Bucks get a smart, great-shooting veteran in Wally Szczcerbiak for a year, then his $12 million clears out for 2009-10 when the team starts paying Bogut the $10-plus million or so.
Cavs get Michael Redd, the shooting guard they wanted three years ago and the $51 million remaining on the last three years of the contract Redd Slickless Larry Harris. The Cavs can hope to contend now before their aging big men expire as NBAers.
Meanwhile, Bucks GM John Hammond gets some much-needed salary cap flexibility 2009-11 to grow the Bucks in Bogut’s prime — and by then it will be more clear what “pieces” could make the Bucks contenders. Right now, that picture is too fuzzy and distorted.
Lebron’s down with it. What do Bucks fans think? Deal or no deal?