By: Mike Conley - Cleveland Plain Dealer Weblog Editor
.......The rumors regarding the trade of Darius Miles finally came true last night. The Cavaliers traded Miles to the Jail Blazers for journeymen PG Jeff McInnins and get this...some guy named Boumtje Boumtje (yeah he'll see a lot of playing time on this team...can you say Bruno Sundov!). Prior to the trade, there was speculation involving Miles and just about every team in the NBA. Web buffs and NBA freaks calculated all sorts of trade possibilities involving a wide range of players from Frank Williams to Shane Battier. In the end, Jeff McInnis and some character from the Yogi Bear cartoon, wound up being those phantom players.
Miles may not of been playing a lot of minutes with the team, but he was showing vast improvement as the season progressed. His upside far outweighs that of McInnis who's better days are close to being behind him. In today's Plain Dealer article about the trade Miles was quoted as saying, " I wasn't in their game plan and you could tell by the moves they made. They got wing players [Eric Williams and Kedrick Brown in an earlier trade with Boston] and Ira Newble [signed as a free agent in the off-season]. I wasn't really playing a lot. I wasn't in the rotation. I wasn't surprised about the trade."
Now let me ask this question. Which player would you rather have Ira Newble or Darius Miles? I think that’s an easy answer.
On the flipside of things, the only way the Williams deal will benefit the Cavaliers is if they are able to re-sign him at the end of the year. If they can't, the Cavs are stuck with Ira Newble and Kedrick Brown as your G-F type players. Now that’s a scary thought! However, the likelihood of Williams signing with Cleveland is good, but there is always that "what if" question you keep parked in the back of your mind.
Yesterday on the Paul Silas call in show on WTAM 1100 , Silas said he feels the addition of McInnis is the final piece of the puzzle needed to make a push for the playoffs. I'm going to be pessimistic here for a second...we really don't know how well LeBron will play off the ball yet. Since entering the NBA, LeBron has been programmed to run the point. At times when he is off the ball he looks somewhat lost and just stands around the perimeter waiting for the ball. Hopefully he can remember how to create off a pick or post up on opposing players.
Now I must make one thing clear here before I continue. I don't think LeBron James is a point guard. He definitely is best suited for the 2 or the 3. I only made the claims above due to the statements made by coach Silas that this trade is the missing piece of the puzzle that will give them a much needed push for the playoffs.
McInnis is a quality PG, not top tier, that can get the job done. He's averaging 5 assists per game this year and has averaged 4.2 throughout his career. He'll help the Cavs in the scoring category. He’s averaging close to 12 points per game and can shoot the mid-range jumper well. Upon looking at those numbers, one would think the Cavs are getting an average point guard at best. Do you remember who we gave up for D-Miles? If you don't let me refresh you memory...Andre Miller. We sure got our money's worth on that one. So the recent move leads me to believe it wasn't truly about getting a quality PG, but rather, getting rid of an unhappy Miles?
Boumtje is a player that was thrown into the mix to average out salaries. In his three year, 44 game career, he's scored a total of 44 points and grabbed a whopping 57 rebounds. He's currently the fourth center on the Cavs roster. Boumtje, you are the weakest link…good bye!
I wish we ‘d kept D-Miles just to see what kind of player he could have been alongside James. However, I will reluctantly give Paxson the benefit of the doubt on the move and remain as optimistic about the team as I had previously been. Let's hope that McInnis is the type of floor general the Cavs need and helps them progress to the next level.