by Jack Maidment
The past three years in the NBA have taught us one thing more than any other: the cold war didn’t die, it just moved.
The arms race that characterised the battle for supremacy between the USA and the Soviet Union has re-emerged only this team its basketball teams that are stockpiling weapons.
Unless you’re poor that is.
In which case you are probably one of teams that is allowing this whole process of one-up-man-ship to happen.
For if there were no teams looking to shed salary so that they can try and fail to sign LeBron James there would be no opportunity for the ‘haves’ to pillage the ‘have-nots’.
Case in point, Antawn Jamison to Cleveland on deadline day.
A continually combusting Washington Wizards pulled the trigger on a trade in which they will receive next to nothing with one of the pieces supposedly heading to the capital, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, undoubtedly returning to the Cavs once the mandatory 30 day period has elapsed.
(Ironically, the Wiz have traded the two of their big three that didn’t cause them any problems. Gilbert Arenas, AKA the man no-one wants to play with remains. The Wiz: The Next Knicks. Have you seen his contract?)
So the Cavs gain a former All-Star and one of the most underrated scorers in the League for a bag of chips.
Scoring and versatility at the 4 was something that the Cavs were lacking and Jamison certainly fills the hole.
The trade leaves Cleevland with a wealth of front court options, with the potential to field LeBron at point-forward, Jamison at scoring guard and a front 3 of Big Z, Shauille O’Neal and Anderson Varejao.
The Lakers are no longer the biggest team in the League.
If the two meet in the Finals there will never have been two bigger teams physically squaring off in the history of the game.
So where does this move for Jamison (and Sebastian Telfair who was also thrown in) put the Cavaliers?
It was the last throw of the dice for Danny Ferry, Cavs GM, who has done everything possible to try and surround LeBron James with the best team possible.
He sure isn’t making LeBron’s decision in the upcoming off season any easier.
The Cavs are certainly a lot bigger now and much more dangerous in a half court set with Jamison able to stretch the floor.
Defensively they are now more of handful with the largest interior of any team in the League.
They have size, bulk, shot blocking, physicality and athleticism.
Will they win the East?
Will they win the Finals?
It is on that question that the future of the League could depend.
Win and LeBron almost certainly stays for the next 5 years.
Lose, again, and he will have all the reasons he needs to go after a fresh start.
I say he wins.
And he stays.