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Cavs Cavs Archive An Interview With Brian Windhorst
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
Anyone that's been reading any of my stuff for any length of time knows my lofty opinion of Brian Windhorst, the Cavs beat writer for the ABJ. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Brian to get his take on the season that just was, and the crucial off-season that looms. Brian gives his thoughts on what the team will try to do with Z and Drew Gooden, what free agents the Cavs will pursue, Kevin Garnett, as well as a number of other topics in this Q&A.

Click here for Brian's work and archive for the ABJ at

Click here to visit Brian's weblog, which he updates frequently.

 Swerb: "Brian, thanks a bunch for taking the time to do this. Safe to say this years team exceeded your expectations?"

Windhorst: "Well, I picked them to go 47-35, get the fifth seed and be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. So they beat my calls on all three of those levels."

Swerb: "As someone who sat courtside for just about every one of the teams 95 games this season, you were at times a harsh critic of the Cavs offensive game planning, play calling, and execution. Do you feel Mike Brown needs to bring in an experienced offensive mind for his coaching staff this off-season? And in which direction do you think this team needs to go with their offensive philosophy?"

Windhorst: "I wrote an entire column about it in February or sometime. Danny Ferry got preturbed with me several times this season, but to my surprise, he didn't say anything about it. Which leads me to believe he didn't think I was way off base. I'm not saying there absolutely has to be a new offensive coach, I'm saying they've got to come up with a stated strategy and then take steps to implement it. What they do now doesn't take advantage of Larry Hughes or Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the two highest paid players. I'm not going to pretend I know what they should do, but this ain't working."

Swerb: "The last question has alot to do with this one. Zydrunas Ilgauskas ... what would you do with him this off-season if you were in Danny Ferry's shoes? I know you hinted in your weblog that the team will entertain moving him this summer. Is this the teams last realistic chance to get close to equal value for him? Can we realistically expect more of a contribution from him in future post-seasons?"

Windhorst: "I don't think Ferry wants to move him. But I know there are people in the organization who are wondering why they are paying a guy an average of $10 million a season and he's not good enough to be on the floor in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. That is a fair question. The Cavs have to decide if they are going to change enough to take advantage of Z, if they aren't then they should trade him. Indeed, he's got a ton of value in the league. You'll never replace a guy like that, but there are ways to play in today's NBA without a back-to-the-basket center."

Swerb: "Is there any chance this team matches a lucrative long term deal made to Drew Gooden? Is a sign and trade the most likely avenue for Drew and the Cavs this off-season? If so, who do you see as potential suitors?"

Windhorst: "Publicly the Cavs will promise to match all offers in an attempt to scare them away. I like Drew and his attitude and his talents. But his fair market value is probably about five years and $45 million. I don't think the Cavs can rationalize spending that on a guy that, again, doesn't play in the fourth quarter. So I think they'll look to trade him. Milwaukee and Chicago could use him, but so could a lot of teams. Actually, I think he'd fit in well in Phoenix and/or Dallas."

Swerb: "It's likely that Flip Murray will draw enough interest this summer to chew up most of the Cavs mid-level exception should they decide to bring him back. Knowing that, should Cavs fans ready themselves to wave goodbye to Flip?"

Windhorst: "Again, I like Flip a lot. But he's really just a poor man's version of what Larry Hughes can do. He's not a good enough shooter to really be worth a huge chunk of the mid-level. I'd be glad to bring him back, but not at anything close to the full mid-level."

Swerb: "Just taking a quick glance at the list of free agents this off-season, are there any that look like good bets that the Cavs will pursue?"

Windhorst: "If they lose Gooden, I think they'll look at Reggie Evans. I could see them looking at Nazr Mohammed as well. As far as point guards, Jason Terry isn't an option really. I used to like Mike James, but now that he's turned into a big self-promoter, I don't anymore. I like Speedy Claxton a little, but he's not a great shooter. Same goes for Bobby Jacskon and Chucky Atkins. Marcus Banks has character issues. Not sure there's a perfect fit at PG. One guy I actually like is Rasual Butler, though he's not a point guard, because he's not a bad defender."

Swerb: "The Cavs have the #25 pick in the draft. Are there any guys you have heard are already on the teams radar?"

Windhorst: "I really haven't prepared for the draft yet. My guess is the Cavs try to get the most talented guard they can."

Swerb: "Anderson Varejao is signed for one more season. When can and when will the Cavs look to lock him up long term?"

Windhorst: "Varejao will be protected by the new Gilbert Arenas/Carlos Boozer rule next summer. He'll be a restricted free agent and teams can only offer him a deal up the average player salary. The Cavs can match if they want and not use any part of their mid-level. I expect him to be re-signed next summer."

Swerb: "Should Cavs fans completely rule out a run at Kevin Garnett this summer? Would the team entertain adding Varejao or Larry Hughes to a package that would also include Z to try and get him out of Minnesota?"

Windhorst: "Unless Garnett comes out and publicly demands to be traded, it is a giant pipe dream."

Swerb: "Do Sasha Pavlovic or Luke Jackson have any trade value whatsoever left? Will both be back in camp with this team next fall?"

Windhorst: "Sasha has some. Luke has none and could only be used to balance out a deal."

Swerb: "Brian, thanks alot for taking the time. Let's do this again soon."

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