The Big Picture: See, this is why I'm pessimistic about getting a good return for Stephen Jackson. For all he brings to the table offensively and defensively, almost certainly there will be better swingman values available, and if the Bobcats want to get rid of his contract, they'll have to determine just how important that roster spot is. We're definitely not going to be able to argue that Jackson is the best available addition for the long term, and we might not even be able to successfully argue his superiority in the short term, so I'm guessing the Cats will eventually come to a "take it or leave it" moment.
Simultaneously, the D.J. Augustin narrative is taking yet another turn. Amazingly, what seemed obvious to me and many readers here over many months is now being put into practice: Paul Silas is letting Augustin "be what he is", and acknowledging that Raymond Felton was/is a different kind of player than Augustin. Mind-bending stuff, huh? That was one of the things about Larry Brown that always rankled me, that he tried to mold players into his ideals, rather than deploying them according to the skills they brought to the table. Here's hoping this change in emphasis bodes well for Augustin.
Musical Interlude: Temper Trap -- "Fader"
Key to Victory: The Cleveland Cavaliers are a few months ahead of us in this whole "rebuilding" thing. And it's hard. They're 8-23, have won exactly one game in the month of December, and are struggling with the emotions of losing, yet understanding that losing isn't as bad now as it was last season, when they were fighting for a championship, and also trying to figure out the players' relationship with Byron Scott.
Twelve different players have started a game for the Cavs this year, which is kind of amazing, considering we're not even into 2011 yet. Let's face it: Not only is O.J. Mayo a more attractive trade chip than Jax, but Anthony Parker may well be up there, too. He's shot under 40% from the field this year, but he's shooting over 41% from three, and has a good defensive reputation. To boot, his contract expires after this season, and he's only being paid $2.8 million.
I mention Parker first, because he actually leads the Cavs in minutes played so far this year, followed by Anderson Varejao, and then -- improbably -- Daniel Gibson. Part of that is injuries, and part of that is managerial experimentation, but it's undoubtedly a sign of necessary chaos before the organizational sorting-out. None of those guys are franchise cornerstones, and soon enough Parker will be on his way elsewhere, and perhaps Varejao and Gibson, too.
It's the Cats' job to go out, perform, and for each individual to prove to management that he can be a part of a championship team in 2013 or 2014. Lofty, yes. But if channeled correctly, that should be enough to sweep away this sad iteration of the Cavs.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: I'm in San Francisco, visiting family. Those of you who've never lived on the west coast don't realize how sweet it is to be a sports fan here. The big thing is, games never end too late. I was finishing dinner when Tuesday Night Football ended last night, and this afternoon, I'll be tracking the Cats game before heading off to happy hour by the bay.