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The NBA: Where Franchise Defining Moves Happen

On Wednesday night, a day before the NBA trade deadline came to its conclusion on Thursday, the Cavaliers made a move to acquire Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards.  Not only did the Cavaliers acquire the "stretch 4" they have coveted for so long, but all they gave up in return was Zydrunas Ilgauskas' expiring contract and a first round pick. 

This deal in terms of talent was an absolute homerun.  Jamison provides Lebron James with another player with his ability to create his own shot off the bounce or in the post.  Additionally while Jamison is only good from the perimeter as a standstill shooter, these are exactly the kind of looks that Lebron will create for him.  

The best part of this trade for the Cavaliers is that is the Wizards are expected to waive Ilgauskas in a few days and after a 30-day waiting period he will be allowed to sign back again with Cleveland.  

The worst case scenario for Cleveland would be to come up short in the playoffs and a disgruntled James feeling that he will not succeed with the Cavs leaves via free agency this summer to ply his trade elsewhere.  Ultimately I expect James to remain with Cleveland, but the possibility looms that Lebron could leave for greener pastures. 

I have defended Ferry before for making the best of a bad situation when he took over reins of the organization, but this is a move that will define the future of this franchise and Ferry is the man pulling all the strings.  If this experiment ends in yet another season of disappointment expect him to be looking for employment elsewhere.

Another franchise that faced a big decision in the past week was the Phoenix Suns.  Throughout the past few weeks the Suns have been involved in a number of trade rumors, all centering around power forward Amare Stoudemire.  the hottest rumor was Stoudemire being shipped to Cleveland in return for J.J. Hickson, Ilgauskas and in all probability a first round pick or two.  

Instead the Suns failed to pull the trigger on that deal on Wednesday when the Cavs pressed them for a decision and at that point it was too close to the trade deadline to find another suitor and make a trade for them.  

Now Phoenix has to deal with a disgruntled Stoudemire who has been frustrated by seeing his name involved in a number of possible trades the past two seasons.  Subsequently they can expect that Amare will forgo his player option for one more year at $17.7 million and enter free agency this summer in hopes of getting a long-term contract possibly leaving elsewhere.

This would be an absolute catastrophe for the organization.  They will be facing the prospect of losing an All-Star quality big man in a loaded Western Conference and getting nothing in return.  The Suns over the past 5-6 years have been a study in how to turn your team from a potential dynasty to an also ran by being more concerned about profit margins rather than the product on the floor.

They have traded 1st round picks away for nothing, sold picks for money, given ridiculous contracts for one-year wonders like Boris Diaw and refused to pay budding stars like Joe Johnson.  In most cases you can point to a team's GM or president for screwing a team's future up, but in this case the main culprit is owner Robert Sarver.  

Unfortunately for Suns fans he can't be fired or traded.  He calls the shots and unfortunately his penny pinching ideology has led directly to poor management decisions culminating in this most recent Stoudemire fiasco.  

In two years if Stoudemire is putting up his customary 20 points and 8 rebounds elsewhere and Steve Nash is on his last legs carrying a bunch of 2nd and 3rd year players to a .500 season in the desert just remember that Sarver is the jackass that led to the destruction of a team that should have captured at least one championship.