There are two fairly recent precedents for what happened with the Clippers and Celtics and Doc Rivers over the past 10 days. The first began on June 5, 1995, when Pat Riley, while still under contract with the Knicks, sent a secret 14-point memo to the Miami Heat outlining his contract demands, which included a 20 percent ownership stake, plus "$300 per diem expenses, credit cards, limousine service to and from games and a $15 million salary over five years."
Apparently that worked for Micky Arison and the Heat, because 10 days later Riley faxed a letter of resignation to the Knicks. Three months later, after the Knicks accused Miami of tampering and all this evidence — of, uh, blatant tampering — became public, the Heat agreed to send $4 million and a first-round pick to the Knicks as compensation. That's trade no. 1, and there are two lessons to be learned.
1. Never, ever trust Pat Riley.
2. In 1995, it was good to be negotiating contracts as Pat Riley.
People realize this is happening, right? That the Cavaliers have a real chance of finishing with the league’s worst record this season, after finishing with the second-worst record in Year 1 of the Post-LeBron Era and the third-worst record in Year 2 of the PLE?
Their chances got better today, when the team announced that Anderson Varejao would undergo surgery this week to repair a messy problem around his right knee. Varejao, Cleveland’s second-best player by about 10 miles, will miss at least six weeks, meaning his minimal recovery time would take him just past the trade deadline. He’s effectively off the market for solid playoff teams who could use an extra big man — Boston (lacking the assets, barring a continued jones in Cleveland for Jeff Green), Oklahoma City (no confirmed interest despite endless trade machine proposals), Miami (stop laughing), New York (no realistic package), Denver (always a wild card), San Antonio (what they’d send is unclear), and perhaps one or two others. Cleveland’s GM, Chris Grant, reportedly loves Varejao, and it’s unclear if he was ever seriously interested in dealing a guy who still isn’t old and could serve as a nice role model for all the young guys here.