Danny Ferry's Cavaliers have the best record in the NBA at the All-Star break and are almost a lock to have home-court advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, but the general manager still is being pressured to make a blockbuster move before Thursday's trade deadline. And it's an extremely precarious situation.
Ferry is mulling deals of multiple magnitudes, from obtaining Amar'e Stoudemire to Antawn Jamison to Troy Murphy. The latter two guarantee giving up a hefty chunk of salary-cap space this summer; Stoudemire almost certainly would mean yielding impressive young forward J.J. Hickson as part of the deal.
Doing nothing means the Cavaliers risk seeing a rival in the East such as the Boston Celtics (who are rumored to have strong interest in Jamison) improving their rosters enough to challenge the Cavs before the NBA Finals.
With LeBron James headed into free agency this summer, Ferry is facing great scrutiny about his ability to build a team that can get to the Finals and even win a championship, which many believe would give James no reason to want to leave Cleveland. But a move that eats up cap space, gives up youth and results in anything short of a Finals appearance wouldn't look good for the Cavs' future or Ferry's.
Wade wants to win
The Heat stumbled into the All-Star break with seven losses in its last 10 games, which dropped Miami into the last playoff spot in the East. Naturally, alarms started going off in South Beach about the prospect of losing pending free agent Dwyane Wade, who has maintained a consistent message that his decision this summer will be based on what he sees for the future.
"I said at the beginning of the summer, to me it's all about winning," Wade told reporters in Miami last week. "So I can't go off of what our record is at the end of the season. It's all about what direction we're going in, more so than anything."
Along with re-signing Wade, Pat Riley and the Heat hierarchy know they have to upgrade the talent level around him. But you'll never get Wade to say that.
"The only thing that puts me apart from them," he said of his current teammates, "is my commercials on TV."
Build around Bosh?
The trade rumors involving Chris Bosh have been squelched by the success of the Toronto Raptors, who sit fifth in the East at 29-23. Although there are very few people around the NBA who believe Bosh will re-sign with the Raptors after this season, Bosh shot down the notion that he would be more inclined to join a superstar in another market to become a high-end wingman.
"I was just looking at what people say and it's like, 'Chris is going to go here and play with him or this, this and that.' I'm like, 'Wait a minute.' I feel like I should be built around," Bosh told ESPN. "And maybe that's just my ego talking, but I feel that I'm a very good player in this league and I'm only going to get better. So . . . maybe we should be getting somebody [in Toronto].''
137 days until July 1, when LeBron James can become a free agent