Should you kinda sorta hope the Cavs do get Amare?

(Jonathan Mannion/dimemag.com)

(Jonathan Mannion/dimemag.com)

Dallas– Probably you hear about Cleveland’s pursuit of Amare Stoudemire and figure that if that deal with Phoenix gets done, whatever chance the Hawks had of toppling the Cavs disappears unless the Hawks also make an unexpected big move (or at least a move for a big).

After all, if Cleveland adds Amare andthen as expected brings back Ilgauskas after the Suns buy him out, those two plus Shaq would give the Cavs three long big men in the pivot (four if you count Varejao). That’s three or four better options than the Hawks if you consider Horford to really be a four, which he is (Amare is the same height as Al but probably plays bigger).

Here in Dallas, though, there is some head-scratching about why the Cavs are considering the move even beyond Stoudemire’s ability to opt out of his contract after this season. For one, Cavs coach Mike Brown is a Popovich disciple, which means he wants to win with rugged team defense, and that’s not Amare’s thing. For that matter, I also couldn’t see Stoudemire fitting in with another suitor, the Heat, which also has an obsessive culture of defensive effort and intensity. Amare tends to shut down if he’s not getting his touches so maybe he doesn’t buy into that culture.

In addition to Amare’s sometimes-casual approach to D, there’s the tricky matter of pairing Amare with Shaq, which CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger notes already failed once in Phoenix. That has some in the Cleveland organization freaking out about a possible chemistry issue if the deal is done, Berger writes:

According to sources, there’s a fear among some members of the Cavs’ organization that, while Stoudemire would be a good long-term pairing with LeBron, incorporating him on the floor with Shaq might present too difficult an adjustment for the rest of the season. In Phoenix, Shaq and Stoudemire were unable to make the low-post, high-post thing work – and that was with a world-class point guard, Steve Nash. With the Cavs, Shaq and Amar’e clogging the middle might frustrate LeBron and turn him into too much of a jump shooter.

So why would the Cavs, who are rolling right now, risk wrecking their chemistry while also parting with promising forward J.J. Hickson and a first-round pick? ESPN’s Ric Bucher suggested it might be a ploy by the Cavs to force Washington’s hand: “One league source posited a sensible explanation: because this is merely saber-rattling to get the Wizards to deal them the guy they really want, Antawn Jamison.”

But Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that “the Cavs have gotten ‘pretty far down the tracks’ in talking to the Suns about Stoudemire. It has even gotten to the point that the sides have discussed small details like payment schedules and salary reimbursement options.” Windhorst also says LeBron has signed off on dealing for Amare.

So should Hawks fans, who can’t feel confident their team can take Cleveland in a series now, hope the Cavs really do get Stoudemire and see if it screws them up? It’s an interesting thought but . . . heck naw, they shouldn’t. Whatever head-butting Amare might do with Shaq or the defensive possessions he decides to take off wouldn’t offset Cleveland’s enormous physical advantage over the Hawks in the post with Shaq, Amare, Z, and Varejao. The Hawks have at least been competitive with the Cavs even if they haven’t figured how to close them out (or get some calls), while I won’t even get into the Hawks’ problems with Dwight Howard and the Magic.

The Hawks have more pressing stuff to worry about right now. Winning the division and posting the second-best record in the East assures them of homecourt advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That means they’d get Orlando in Philips for four games in the second round if both get through and the series went seven games. That’s why Woody lately has been talking up the importance of earning that No. 2 seed.

The Hawks need to at least hold off Boston for No. 3 in the East so they can avoid the dreaded four seed and drawing the Cavs in the second round with Cleveland holding homecourt. That’s a no-go whether Amare is in Cleveland or not.

MC

103 comments Add your comment

darrell starks

February 14th, 2010
5:38 pm

IM FIRST WOW!!!!!!!!!
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
5:40 pm

Really, I doubt the second round matchup matters as long as Woodson’s ISO-heavy offensive “system” is what we’re sticking with. Even lazy defense by Amare won’t offset the predictability of “ISO-JJ, then ISO-Jamal, then post up Horford, then ISO-JJ, then baseline post Josh, then ISO-JJ.”

Michael Cunningham

February 14th, 2010
5:45 pm

an enthusiastic firstie, then an anti-Woody rant. (tearing up) man i love my blog people.

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
5:45 pm

When the Hawks move the ball (usually by having Bibby initiate instead of JJ or Jamal…you know, the shooting guards, with emphasis on “shooting”) and crash the boards consistently (harder to do if we switch on all screens), we seriously can run with any team in the league. Even Cleveland, who generally does NOT blow us away when we’re healthy. Even Cleveland with Amare, I’d wager. But that hasn’t happened before, so I don’t see it happening now…

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
5:50 pm

MC, awww…and here I thought I had gained “perspective” points a couple threads back. Sorry, I can only keep the “Woody is a dolt” instincts in check for so long these days. Believe it or not, I used to be a Woody supporter/defender not so long ago. Then I got League Pass last year and started watching most games instead of just watching highlights and listening to the radio feed. And then…I saw the light!

Julius Thurber

February 14th, 2010
5:53 pm

The Hawks aren’t getting past Cleveland, with or without Amare – it’s just not happening. The most any Hawks fan can hope for is either an injury to LBJ or, as the article suggested, that the trade goes down and Amare throws team chemistry off to a historically strange degree. I think LeBron breaking a bone is more likely than Amare being traded and making the Cavs less potent.

Michael Cunningham

February 14th, 2010
5:56 pm

@nire: don’t worry your perspective cred is solid. let the “woody is a dolt” instincts loose if that’s what you are feeling. your League Pass revelation reminds me of what another hack said to me when we were debating Iso-Woody recently: “i don’t know, man. you don’t see anybody else doing that sh–.”

cavs

February 14th, 2010
6:00 pm

Lebron is a beast. he will make it work!

WestOfAthens

February 14th, 2010
6:26 pm

I would rather ignore what another team is doing, and seek improvement within.

Besides, Cleveland has ATL’s number. Apparent last year, apparent this year.

hawkfan

February 14th, 2010
6:28 pm

All truth be told … Pointless article. From the Hawks perspective, it does not matter whether the Cavs acquire Amare or not. And no, it would NOT make them a weaker team. It would only make them bigger and stronger, and not to mention provide insurance should Shaq go down late in the season or playoffs. If anything, the Hawks should go after Amare, but probably through free agency and not trade.

Stick to the beat blog MC … thats apparently your niche.

bigstack19

February 14th, 2010
6:29 pm

The Hawks can’t beat Orlando or Cleveland no matter what their seed is. They also can’t win on the road which you have to do in the playoffs. Here lately they can’t even beat Miami. Hawks are eliminated by the end of the 2nd round at the latest.

hawkfan

February 14th, 2010
6:30 pm

Oh yea I forgot … FIRE WOODY

Go Hawks

RA

February 14th, 2010
6:35 pm

Well, how nice of Lebron to “sign off” on the trade. Of course, he’s not going to be in Cleveland anymore after this year anyway, so what does it really matter to him?

RA

February 14th, 2010
6:36 pm

Oh yea, I forgot. Lebron’s a punk.

Go Hawks!

EW

February 14th, 2010
6:36 pm

MC! How are deals like this possible in professional basketball? How could Ilgaskus be traded and end of playing for the same team? Surely the salary cap and luxury tax restrictions will punish the Cavs even beyond the glory that a championship will produce. I hope the new CBA addresses this issue or the NBA will end up like the MLB as the Yankees overpay for a championship every 3 years.

With that being said. I’m not afraid of the trade. Bring on the Stoudemire – Shaq Fiasco II.

dap01

February 14th, 2010
6:40 pm

The Hawks can not make a move because of the salary cap yet Cleveland can make a move, get one of the trade pieces back and all is ok?

This is not right.

I would rather be debating the possibilities of the Hawks addressing one of their weaknesses by the trade deadline.

Is there no defensive center available?

No matter who we might get or how well the Hawks may be, if the game 7 with Cleveland is close, the refs will certainly make it impossible for the King to lose!

bigdave

February 14th, 2010
6:44 pm

dont like it… dont like it at all…

keep that monster in the West unless he comes where he wants to be… the ATL…

Sautee…

agreed w/ your response on the last blog. i mean… what on earth is a defense to do…

Najeh Davenpoop

February 14th, 2010
6:44 pm

“Should you kinda sorta hope the Cavs do get Amare?”

No.

Amare has his obvious flaws, of course, but considering that Cleveland would be getting back Ilgauskas in time for the postseason, that question proposes the argument that adding Amare actually makes them worse. I don’t buy that for a minute, and the reason is because LeBron James is the most unselfish superstar in the league. When Cleveland started this season 0-2, people were wondering whether the LeBron-Shaq combination could work. Clearly it has, and it’s because LeBron is not afraid to share the ball with his teammates. Amare is a significant upgrade in talent over JJ Hickson, and even though he is a poor rebounder and defender he’s not going to single-handedly hurt them in that regard to the point where they get worse.

I don’t think the Hawks can beat the Cavs with or without Amare, so whether or not this trade goes down is irrelevant. The Hawks need to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals first, and doing so requires a) getting a 2 or 3 seed and b) figuring out how to beat Orlando. Those two things are much more important than what’s going on in Cleveland.

clarkekent

February 14th, 2010
6:44 pm

the hawks need to make a move as well… with such a young team trading the 1st rd pick this year should not be an issue. With Amare, Cleveland will give the hawks problems. Amare will pull Josh out on the floor and with horfod guarding shaq,lebron will head to the basket at will. joe & marvin will foul out by the 4th quarter.

john

February 14th, 2010
6:56 pm

i’m pretty sure its impossible for the hawks to play orlando in round 2 barring an upset of one of the ‘big 4′ in round 1. correct me if im wrong, but dont the top 3 seeds in each conference automatically go to the division winners? therefore cleveland would be the 1, atlanta/orlando would be the 2, boston would be the 3, and atlanta/orlando would be the 4.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

“correct me if im wrong, but dont the top 3 seeds in each conference automatically go to the division winners?”

The division winners are guaranteed a top 4 seed, but beyond that there’s no guarantee. So if Atlanta and Orlando both finish with better records than Boston, the Celtics will be the 4 seed even though they won their division.

Micheal

February 14th, 2010
7:06 pm

Maybe this deal, might get the other Big 4 looking for deals as well, including they Hawks, they need a big (Camby) that can deal wtih Dwight Howard and Cavs. If we want to go past the second round, then that is a must, even if we have to let go somebody like Marvin, Evans, or Zaza.

vava74

February 14th, 2010
7:10 pm

There you go MC, that should teach you not to be provocative by resonating a perfectly valid question which spawns from other colleague’s work… You are instantly reduced by the pessimism kings to a mere towel boy…

vava74

February 14th, 2010
7:12 pm

Camby is a light weight. Not a good defensive match for us to put on Howard.

Hawk n the Ham

February 14th, 2010
7:25 pm

It doesn’t really matter at this point. The Cavs are going to make one last desperation attempt to get a title. As everyone knows, Queenie Jameson is headed out of town after this season.

On the Hawks side, no moves will be made personel wise. Sund made that clear. MC, was it you that interviewd Sund on that issue?

Hawks need to fight for that #2 spot to have hopes of making it to the conference finals. Of course then again, they need to figure out how to get Dwight Howard in foul trouble in games.

niremetal

February 14th, 2010
7:54 pm

There is no such thing as a good defensive match on Howard. There is no correlation between height, strength, or any other feature of a defender when it comes to stopping Dwight from getting his. There is not a single solitary player in the NBA that we can trade for that will provide us with a better chance of stopping Dwight 1-on-1 than the guys we already have on the roster. In the past year, he has thrown Camby, Haywood, Kaman, Rasheed, and Perkins around like children’s toys at one time or another, and has put up his average against Shaq. Some of his worst games in the past year have come against such fearsome defensive big men as Dan Gadzuric, Al Harrington, and Hilton Armstrong. His single worst game of the past two years came against Emeka Okafor, who is perhaps the most comparable player to Horford in terms of physique and skill set in the whole NBA.

As with Shaq in his prime, the key to dealing with Dwight has to be not letting him dictate the game plan. Making trades specifically designed to stop a single player pretty much never works, as the huge number of moves that NBA teams made in the past 15 years supposedly to stop Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan indicate. Hawk n the Ham hit on the one strategy of dealing with Dwight that seems to work – do your best to get him in foul trouble. That means taking the ball right at him, and don’t sweat it if you get blocked 4 of the first 5 times (or if he fouls you 3 times and the refs don’t call it).

The key isn’t to acquire some second-tier big man, and the fact that Horford is an All-Star should tell you that there aren’t any first-tier ones out there either. The key is not let the other team dictate the game plan (but good luck with that as long as you-know-who is coach).

bigdave

February 14th, 2010
8:15 pm

what does the Joe Johnson sweepstakes look like if Amare lands in Cleveland and they work out extension…

no Joe and queen pairing…
no Joe and Amare pairing in NY…

Delbert D.

February 14th, 2010
8:18 pm

I’d rather the Cavs get Amore. “When the moon hits your eye, like a big piece of pie….”

BONE

February 14th, 2010
8:28 pm

Can Joe crack a smile lol

Marcus

February 14th, 2010
8:28 pm

MC,
I know you are busy at the Jerry Jones-Dome … but did you peep the crazy trade scenario Chris Minnix proposed in the most recent SI, including the Hawks/Celts/Mavericks/Hornets scenario?

I know he did it for entertainment only, but it boggles the mind that any trade like that would go down, esp. one so lopsided (on the bad side) for the Hawks.

Alan

February 14th, 2010
8:29 pm

Wow what a bunch of thu_s. I wonder how many have a gun on them? That’s what makes baseball such a good sport. It does not have many of those types of people. I doubt Chipper brings a gun to work.

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
8:32 pm

For the life of me, I don’t understand why Phx would make this trade. They are willing to trade a 5 time all-star player (21pts/8reb) for a 2nd year guy (Hickson) that didn’t play much in his rookie season, started his 2nd season on the bench and now is avg 7.4 pts and 4.4rebs?
I just dont understand these type of trades where teams are willing to trade an All-NBA type players (Gasol/KG). It doesn’t improve their team at all, short or long term(Memphis/Minnesota)…

Blast

February 14th, 2010
8:33 pm

Great to see Joe out there starting the All Stars!

Sounds criminal that some teams like Dallas and Cleveland can spend and spend and spend to improve their team, mindless of the cap, while Hawks are penny pinching.

There should be a rule that will stop folks like Big Z being traded, then waived or bought out, then allowed to resign with their old team after 30 days. That does not seem fair at all.

All Star weekend has been boring so far. Dunk contest was the worst ever. I wanna see a dunk contest with LeBron, Josh, Kobe and Dwight in it. That should be a hit! Let’s hope tonight’s game makes up for the boring show so far. Shame to disappoint that record number of turnouts.

Dallis04

February 14th, 2010
8:37 pm

Is it just me or did I completely miss Joe Johnson getting intro’d as a starter…I THOUGHT I was looking for it the whole time but I never saw it…Am I going crazy?

cdog

February 14th, 2010
8:40 pm

RICK SUND SHOULD BE IN HOT PURSUIT OF STOUDERMIER OR A CENTER WHO WILL GET THE HAWKS OVER THE HUMP BUT THATS RICK SUND, HE’S GOING TO STAND BACK AND LET THE CAVS, MAJIC AND CELTICS IMPROVE AND HE DOES NOTHING.BEST GM THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ATLANTA? NO WAY, NOT ON PLANET EARTH. THE HAWKS ARE STUCK WITH A LOSER FOR A GM.

clarkekent

February 14th, 2010
8:40 pm

the key to beating ORL is to “NOT” let the 3pt shooters go off. Let howard get his 21 and 10. Use all of your big man (yes that means everyone-zaza, collins and morris) and reserve horford and his fouls till the 4th qrt. The Hawks dlb howard and he still gets 21 and 10 and the 3pt shooters get the other 80 or so pts (3 at a time.) i agree there are not any big man that can guard howard 1-on-1 for the whole game. second problem is their back court have guys how drive the basketball (jameer, j-will, and anthony johnson not to mention VC. This means bibby has to guard a quick guard. (bad news)THIS IS THE MAIN REASON WHY TEAGUE SHOULD BE PLAYING MORE. (confidence building) Cleveland presents the same back court problem with west and williams. this is also why the hawks play boston so well. ray allen is a jump shooter. woody can hide bibby but ORL an CLE attacks bibby with the which every guard he is guarding break down our defense.

Blast

February 14th, 2010
8:40 pm

vava74

February 14th, 2010
8:43 pm

Dallis,

Dumars was the silent assassin, JJ is the invisible man.

He is so discrete that he dis not smile, wave or blink during his presentation … Maybe he was asleep…

vava74

February 14th, 2010
8:50 pm

Lebron is such an a** with that powder thing… Good grief…

Alan

February 14th, 2010
8:53 pm

VAVA74 all NBA thugs are like that. What is funny is that they are terrible with money and after the NBA, they end up broke. Remember they are all very uneducated morons.

John Kincade

February 14th, 2010
8:54 pm

is an arrogant jerk.

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
8:56 pm

Did I just seen an ISO-Joe play…

MAD-DONNA

February 14th, 2010
8:58 pm

What baffles me, is why the Hawks management refuses to make a big move for a real center! The lack of an obvious effort to do so, only reiterates my belief that they are not serious about winning a championship!

The Truth

February 14th, 2010
8:59 pm

vava74

February 14th, 2010
9:01 pm

Alan, that happens in all sports. Look at John Daly the golfer…

Blast

February 14th, 2010
9:01 pm

On defending Howard, I think this is what Hawks should do. Guard him one on one. Start the game with Collins on Howard and AL on the bench. Tell Collins to deliver three hard fouls on Dwight when he is close to the basket. License Collins to use up to four fouls on Dwight the first qrt. After Jason, bring in Zaza. Same MO. Beat Dwight up one on one. All other Hawks, stay at home on the shooters. When Dwight goes to the bench, bring in Horford.

3rd qrt. Start AL on Howard. Tell AL he only has two hard fouls to lay on Dwight in the 3rd, but play him straight up. Alternate between AL, Collins, Zaza and even RandMo. Throw in Joe Smith if you have to. Let the bench guys beat Dwight up. Let him score 50. But if you allow Dwight to get a double double, and let Magic shoot the 3 ball, you gonna get beat.

MAD-DONNA

February 14th, 2010
9:04 pm

Alan, have you been drinking, or are you always that ignorant?

Alan

February 14th, 2010
9:07 pm

VAVA74 that is just one example. Way more black athletes go broke then do white ones. Why? Because the black athletes have to buy 15 cars, lots of guns, and as much gold jewelry as possible. Oh, and tattoos.

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
9:12 pm

My gosh, will Van Gundy play Dwight the 1st qtr?

Melvin

February 14th, 2010
9:12 pm

My gosh, will Van Gundy play Dwight the entire 1st qtr?