The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Cavs Cavs Archive What To Do With Drew?
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
Free agency is now 17 days in, and the Cavs have yet to do anything besides reup LeBron, while each of their division rivals has already added a significant piece. It appears that the Drew Gooden situation could be coming to a head, which could cause a chain reaction of moves for the Cavs and GM Danny Ferry.  Should he stay or should he go?

Cavs fans seem split right down the middle on Drew Gooden, as further evidenced by the deadlocked 50/50 poll on the Cavs page of this site that asks that very question.

The Gooden supporters will tell you that Drew is still only 24 years old, and has immense talent.  He's a double double machine that has averaged 14 and 9 and 11 and 8 the last two seasons despite not even playing 30 minutes a night, and never having had a play called for him.  He rebounds very well, and is a good athlete.  His teammates like him, he always gives max effort, and has never complained about losing time to Donyell Marshall and Anderson Varejao.  He was a top five pick, has top five pick talent, and is still improving and coming into his own.  Letting him leave would be a big mistake, especially as the Cavs head into a four year window where they need to contend for championships.

The Gooden detractors will tell you that Drew is an airhead with a low basketball IQ, the type of guy who will likely spend his career being "a good player on a bad team".  While physically gifted, Gooden's bone-headed turnovers and being constantly caught out of position on defense make him a net negative on the floor at most times, and this is the reason he saw next to no fourth quarter time on the floor in the playoffs.  The team needs a more physical defensive presence at power forward, especially with Stay-Puft Ilgauskas at center.  With a maxed out cap, Gooden is their best vehicle to land such a player.  And how can the Cavaliers even entertain the possibility of paying a guy ten million dollars a year if he's not even good enough to be on the floor at the ends of playoff games?  Especially when you already have a guy like that in Big Z.

My personal opinion is that the Cavaliers will be hard pressed to win a championship without a more viable defensive presence in the middle.  Gooden and Ilgauskas were exposed defensively in the playoffs, and sitting them late in games in favor of Marshall and Varejao was the right move by Cavs coach Al Roker.  I'd like to see the Cavs move either Z or Drew in favor of a more physical, defensive minded big man.  I'd prefer they moved Z, but moving Drew is more likely.

That said, I'm not moving Drew unless I get at least equal value in return if I'm Danny Ferry.  I'd rather see them sign Drew to a long term deal for somewhere between the mid level exception and "Nene Money" than seeing him signed and traded just to do it, or having him sign the one year deal here with the lure of unrestricted free agency at years end.  The Cavs can always sign Drew to a long term deal now, then deal him closer to the season if no viable sign and trades come to the forefront now with many teams still weighing other signings, trades, and options.  Or even deal him mid-season or next off-season.  Young talented bigs are hard to come by, and the Cavaliers will (and should) utilize his status as a restricted free agent, and match just about any deal made to him.  Other teams know this, and that's why no one has signed Drew to an offer sheet.

The rumor mill is starting to churn with Drew, and that's usually foreshadowing of an impending deal.  The three most mentioned options for the Cavs appear to be as follows:

~Drew to Boston for Theo Ratliff and Delonte West
~Drew to Chicago for Chris Duhon and Michael Sweetney
~Drew to Phoenix for Kurt Thomas and Atlanta's #1 pick next year or Drew, Sahsa Pavlovic, and a pick to Phoenix for Thomas and Lehandrino Barbosa

Drew's agent has acknowledged some of these deals as "options we're interested in" for his client, because it would likely mean a bigger payday for Gooden.  Chicago, Boston, and Phoenix are all going to be willing to pay Gooden more than we are. 

Part of this has to do with the Cavs having all kinds of money tied up in LeBron, Larry Hughes, and Ilgauskas.  Part of it is also the fact that the Cavs brass is more aware of Drew's flaws having a chance to watch him night in and night out.

The TCF Forums