NBA All Star Game
To Trade or Not to Trade? That is the Question.

ClevelandSportsGirl doesn't usually address basketball, but the debate over whether it makes sense for the Cavs to trade JJ Hickson to Phoenix for Amar'e Stoudemire is just too intriguing to resist.

Very compelling arguments exist both for and against the trade. Thus ClevelandSportsGirl, who normally has very strong opinions on all things sports, finds herself stuck on the fence regarding this issue.

Time to employ the trusty "pro/con list" strategy to determine whether it is ultimately best to trade, or not to trade.


Pro:

-Stoudemire's talent brings on-court benefits that need no explanation. The fact that his caliber of play could be the difference for the Cavs between an NBA title and going home hungry again in 2010 is huge in a city so in need of sports success.
-The rumored positive influence that the acquisition of Stoudemire will have on getting LeBron to re-sign.
-To quote Plain Dealer Cavs writer Brian Windhorst: "The Cavs can find another JJ Hickson".
-The Cavs don't really lose Zydrunas Ilgauskas (who would likely also be sent to Phoenix in the deal), as he will likely be bought out by the Suns and can rejoin the Cavs in 30 days.

Con:

-This team is playing phenomenally already. Crash Davis famously said "Don't f*ck with a winning streak". The same can be said for team chemistry.
-Chemistry related specific #1: Stoudemire's huge ego caused problems in Phoenix. His willingness to play second fiddle to LeBron should be questioned.
-Chemistry related specific #2: Stoudemire and Shaq didn't mesh well in Phoenix, and being in Cleveland won't necessarily make them mesh any better.
-Stoudemire will want a huge contract following this season. The Cavs will have to offer something like five years, or he'll essentially be a rent-a-player for half a season who costs us JJ Hickson.

Overall, what this really all boils down to is the winner of a face-off between the most important "pro" listed above versus the most important "con" listed above. Those would be: the acquisition of a talent big enough to single-handedly tip the playoff balance in the Cavs' favor, versus screwing up team chemistry, which could tip the scales the other direction.

It's a tough call because the repercussions of trading for Stoudemire are unclear on both those issues.

There's no guarantee that bringing in Stoudemire will be enough to bring home a title. By the same token, there's no way to know for sure whether Stoudemire's presence would negatively alter team chemistry.

Then of course there's the most interesting (if unlikely) take on the rumored trade: The whole thing is a ruse cooked up by long-time friends Danny Ferry and Phoenix GM Steve Kerr  to indirectly help both their teams.

The conspiracy theory shakes out like this: Ferry and Kerr invented the whole thing to drive down the Wizards' price for Antawn Jamison (who the Cavs have interest in and could thus get at a lower cost), and drive up the price for Stoudemire (whose salary the Suns need to get rid of in order to get under the luxury cap).

Intriguing and brilliantly win-win, but  almost assuredly a ridiculous conspiracy theory invented by some guy who thinks the government is covering up alien attacks and is sure he captured Nessie on film during his last trip to Scotland.

Ferry is in a tough spot. If the conspiracy theory is true, and has the desired effect, then the man is a genius. But likely this is just a rumor, which means Ferry must weigh the aforementioned pros and cons  and make a very difficult decision.

No matter what he decides, the verdict on his choice will be determined by how the Cavs' season ends. If they win the NBA championship the move will be seen as brilliant and if they don't it will be seen as a disaster, regardless of whether the move truly has any effect on their success or failure.

Both making and not making the move are high risk/high reward ventures. Since Ferry will have to make a choice one way or the other, ClevelandSportsGirl will hop down off the proverbial fence and do the same.

After much deliberation, she lands on the "against" side of the fence. The bottom line is that keeping the already outstanding team chemistry intact is more important than anything else. Jeopardizing it isn't worth the risk when the team is doing so well as is. At this point, you could make a very good argument by saying, "Who says the Cavs need to make ANY changes in order to bring home a title?"

True, the trade might not have a negative effect on team chemistry, but there's a reason you're not supposed to fix it if it ain't broke. Too much tinkering has been known to destroy a good thing, especially in sports.

My dad, arguing against the trade due to its potential to upset team chemistry, said it best: "We always want to make the boat prettier, and then we wind up having to watch it sink."

So what will it be, Mr. Ferry? You're the captain. We're all counting on you not to sink the boat.