Varejao or Gooden Bound for the Bay?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:59 am
By Preetom Bhattachary
for HOOPSWORLD.com
Jul 27, 2007, 05:41


According to an informed league source, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors have recently had discussions about a possible Drew Gooden trade.

The Cavaliers, hoping to re-sign Anderson Varejao, currently have over $64-million worth of salaries committed for next season and are right up against the $67.865-million luxury tax threshold. Both Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic are restricted free-agents for Cleveland, giving the team the opportunity to match any offer given to either of them.

The Warriors possess a $9.9-million traded player exception that they received in the Draft Night deal for Jason Richardson. Should they send the TPE to Cleveland for Gooden, the Cavaliers will immediately be freed from Gooden's $6.4-million salary for next season, increasing the likelihood of bringing back their own free agents, Varejao and Pavlovic.

In need of a rebounding presence on the inside, the Warriors could use Gooden as a backup center to Andris Biedrins. His mobility and willingness to scrap for rebounds would be a welcome addition to a Warriors squad that was out muscled by the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Specific packages and players other than Gooden are not yet known.

UPDATE - 5:30 AM EST

A separate league source has confirmed that the Cavaliers are exploring possible trades for Gooden with several teams, of which the Warriors are one. The source has indicated that the Warriors may offer Anderson Varejao the full Mid-Level Exception, forcing the Cavaliers' hand into either matching him or letting the Warriors have him (provided he agrees to the deal). Nothing is imminent, according to the source, who requested anonymity because of their closeness to the situation.

Should the Cavs match the offer, the team will venture into luxury tax territory. After adding Varejao's prospective $5.356-million salary to their $64.36-million payroll, Cleveland would stand at a total of $69.716-million, giving them $1.851-million in luxury taxes; they'd also lose out on the luxury tax redistribution (tax paid out by teams over the threshold is redistributed to the teams under the threshold), which could total more than $2-million. That means the Anderson Varejao could end up costing the Cavaliers more than $9-million next season (MLE salary + luxury tax + loss of tax redistribution).

The question for the Cavs then becomes whether Varejao is worth that much to them. If not, the Warriors may have stolen Varejao at a great cost. If so, the Warriors' Traded Player Exception looks like an absolutely wonderful chip for the Cavaliers now that Varejao is back. It is very difficult to justify starting Gooden in front of Varejao at that cost and it is equally difficult to do the same for Varejao starting in front of a $6.4-million Gooden. Plus, the Cavaliers would still have to work on a deal with Sasha Pavlovic.

This tactic has been used before by one of the greatest GMs of all time, Jerry West. After watching the Sonics use a lot of their young talent to make a postseason run, nearly knocking off the San Antonio Spurs in the first round in 2002, West got that sparkle in his eye. Yes, Seattle was led by Gary Payton and Rashard Lewis, primarily, but players like Jerome James and Earl Watson helped spark the team into the playoffs. James was a nobody 7'1" center, losing so much weight that he looked like half of his former self and parlayed that half-mass into a pogo-stick-like ability to spring up and block shots. Watson, a rookie out of UCLA, had established himself as an outstanding on-the-ball defender.

With James only making $465,000 and Watson being left off of the Sonics' playoff roster (Nate McMillan chose to go with Randy Livingston), West knew that both of these free agents were looking for paydays with the Sonics' front office and began to negotiate with both players' agents. West didn't care which player he got - he just wanted one of them to develop with the Memphis franchise he just signed on with. He offered James the Mid-Level Exception, knowing that should the Sonics match the Grizzlies offer, it would vault Seattle over the salary cap and West could make an offer to Watson. If Seattle chose to let James walk, West would have a seven-foot center to develop into a solid starter.

The Logo's snide and shrewd plan worked - the Sonics matched James' offer and Watson signed a three-year, $4 million contract with Memphis, just out of Seattle's financial reach.

When All is Said and Done

Bringing in Varejao for the Mid-Level would be a perfect scenario for the Warriors, but one that isn't as likely as acquiring Gooden. Acquiring either player's salary likely means the Warriors will be over the luxury tax threshold in 2008-09, when the supposed extensions for Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis kick in. Of course, the Warriors could move another player and plenty can change between now and next summer, but the Warriors wouldn't be in a situation where they'd pay absolutely ridiculous luxury taxes.

Since so many Warrior fans are concerned with the possibility of a Kevin Garnett trade, theoretically this move could make it easier for the Warriors to part with Biedrins in a package for Kevin Garnett, with the Warriors keeping and developing Brandan Wright rather than dealing him as many have assumed. The Warriors could send a huge package with Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Adonal Foyle for Garnett and another player the Wolves would like to purge. This is still unlikely (and very speculative), as Warriors "decider" Chris Mullin loves Biedrins, but the pain of losing him could be eased with a Garnett-Gooden duo in the paint and Stephen Jackson, Baron Davis, and Marco Belinelli running around the perimeter. The Warriors would fill their depth with the many lower-tiered talents that they could plug into their system as solid role players.

Going off what seems likely, the Warriors could end up fielding a team that looks a little bit more balanced by adding Gooden, who would be expected to play both the four and five in heavy spurts:

PG: Baron Davis / Monta Ellis / Sarunas Jasikevicius
SG: Marco Belinelli / Kelenna Azubuike
SF: Stephen Jackson / Mickael Pietrus*
PF: Al Harrington / Brandan Wright / Stephane Lasme
C: Andris Biedrins / Drew Gooden / Adonal Foyle / Patrick O'Bryant** / Kosta Perovic***

*status still up in the air - the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami believes Pietrus does not have many options and will be forced to take the Warriors' $3.4-million qualifying offer while Pietrus' camp has told Kawakami that this isn't the case

**would likely be moved to someone who still believes in his potential for another guard, or possibly even traded for cash

***still unsigned, but if O'Bryant is out of the way, he may finally join the team

UPDATE 2:45 PM EST

The luxury cap figure used was last year's, but has been corrected.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:29 am
The Cavs have already said that they'll match any MLE offer for Varejao, so it's not even an option.

I can see the trade for Gooden, tho, as Cleveland will play Varejao as much as possible... Gooden will be traded this summer. If not to us, somewhere else.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:55 am
I'd much rather have Gooden. He might not be able to keep up with the run and gun play, but he'll manage. Besides, he won't start over Harrington or Biedrins, so he won't play THAT much.

A 6th or 7th man like Gooden would give us insane depth to our bench. Any team with a 3rd guard like Belinelli and a 3rd forward/center like Gooden is headed DEEP into the playoffs. :wink:
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:07 pm
32 wrote:I'd much rather have Gooden. He might not be able to keep up with the run and gun play, but he'll manage. Besides, he won't start over Harrington or Biedrins, so he won't play THAT much.

A 6th or 7th man like Gooden would give us insane depth to our bench. Any team with a 3rd guard like Belinelli and a 3rd forward/center like Gooden is headed DEEP into the playoffs. :wink:


Yeah, also, Gooden only has a couple of seasons left in his contract, so we can get rid of him pretty soon in case he doesn't perform well.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:01 pm
I'm not worried about the money. Its still less than JRich's was and Gooden's production is valued much higher. The Warriors are overflowing with perimeter scorers, so Richardson was expendable. They need defense, rebounding, and inside scoring. Gooden gives them all 3.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:36 pm
32 wrote:I'm not worried about the money. Its still less than JRich's was and Gooden's production is valued much higher. The Warriors are overflowing with perimeter scorers, so Richardson was expendable. They need defense, rebounding, and inside scoring. Gooden gives them all 3.


32, we seem to be in agreement on most things but you did NOT just say that Gooden gives us defense did you?

He is a pretty good offensive player but defense is the reason he has been on 3 teams in 5 years. Dude just cant play it. He seems lost on the defensive end and has lapses all the time. He plays hard no doubt but he is at BEST a slightly below defender.

I don't understand the Gooden thing... isn't he essentially Harrington without range. There is no question that Harrington is a better defender, edge to Gooden in rebounding, Harrington way better ball handler, Al a slightly better overall offensive player, Al can stroke the 3 which Gooden can not.

In my opinion, Varajau is the better choice (if we are talking equal money). He is a very good interior defender and while not a great shot blocker, he plays great one on one and team defense. Not the offensive player that Gooden (but we really dont need that) is but his superior defense, offensive rebounding and his non stop energy make him a better fit along side Al.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:43 pm
You're right; I got trigger happy when I said he could play defense. For some reason, a laps in memory led me to believe Gooden blocked 0.8 or 0.9 shots a game. He's a career 0.6 BPG, which is about Murphy-range.

Still, for some bench production, Gooden's a damn good value. He's an emotional player capable of pouring in buckets on the right night and a consistent rebounder. That's better than any big currently riding our bench this side of Brandan Wright. If we aquire Gooden, I would hope its to be a backup center, which is something we desperately lacked last year. No more Harrington, Jackson, or Barnes at the 5, please. Gooden would solve that problem.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:43 pm
Honestly I'd rather not spend the money on either of these guys. They are both PFs who can't really be effective at center. I'd much rather go after a player who can back up Biedrins at a minimal cost than overpay for either of these two to be a backup to Biedrins and Wright down the road. It would essentially be getting into another Derek Fisher situation.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:48 pm
badabing8888 wrote:I don't understand the Gooden thing... isn't he essentially Harrington without range. There is no question that Harrington is a better defender, edge to Gooden in rebounding, Harrington way better ball handler, Al a slightly better overall offensive player, Al can stroke the 3 which Gooden can not.


Yep. I also think so. Gooden is a MUCH BETTER rebounder... but Al is better at anything else. The only good thing is that it adds depth at a key position, in case Wright ain't ready to contribute right away.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:56 pm
Right now, I'd rather have Brandan Wright backing up Al Harrington and Andris Biedrins. Don Nelson is willing to play Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, and Stephen Jackson at center, so, obviously, size is not an issue. Wright is 6'10" anyway. Width is his only issue.

BUT, if Wright turns out to need a little more seasoning on him, I'd gladly take Gooden for the TE. Of course, we'd all rather have Camby or something cheaper, but, realistically speaking, Gooden can help our team and he's available. If he can grab 9 rebounds a game standing next to Big Z, I'd assume he's capable of 6 or 7 RPG in 25 MPG off the bench. That's totally welcomed around here. Biedrins, Gooden, and Harrington is a frontcourt that would have reversed our fate against Utah.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:07 pm
I agree, I would pass on both. PF should be fine with Al, Wright and possibly Powell. A C to help out AB would be great.

I am still PRAYING there is some way we can use our TE on Camby.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:18 pm
Camby would be a beast! What a dream though... I think the chances of getting him are pretty slim...?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:36 pm
bring in gooden for the trade exception, gooden isnt great but he's a beast on the boards, both offensively and defensively, and andris needs help! bring back the bay area boy!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:43 pm
ChronicallyInclined wrote:bring in gooden for the trade exception, gooden isnt great but he's a beast on the boards, both offensively and defensively, and andris needs help! bring back the bay area boy!

My thoughts exactly.

Garnett's headed to the Celtics and Camby is a pipe dream. We have a $10 million TE. Lets use it on somebody who can fix our weaknesses. Gooden would be great. Varejao for the MLE would be amazing, too. Both can rebound. I'd prefer Gooden, because I think he's more offensively savy than Varejao and brings inside scoring to the table.

If Drew Gooden can be had for the TE, I'll be happy. JRich in exchange for a future Bosh, cap room for Monta Ellis, and Drew Gooden? That's a dream deal. We'd all prefer a traditional center, but those are usually pretty pricey. Gooden is a great backup 5 for our run-and-gun lineup.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:15 am
I don't want either one of those two for that price. Gooden would be a backup and getting paid 6.4 million - Way too much for a backup, even for a starter who only produces what he does. Gooden can rebound well and nothing else! Murphy was better!

Varejao would fit better because he runs and defends better than Gooden but for the MLE, a little too much, rather get Barnes as he does more things better and is more versatile.

If Mullin is going to make a trade, it has to be a trade for a star big, anything else would be failure. Going for Gasol now is the best score he can get. He has to use Harrington and BWright for something good and not have them split time at PF
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