Every day, there's a whole gamut of: proposals and denials, excitement and anxiety, ups and downs, twists and turns, and chutes and ladders. Names of "available players" are flying around like, well, flies.
And at some point, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been or will be linked to each and every one of them. Best of all, absolutely no levels of absurdity, pointlessness, impracticality or impossibility are off limits. It's an exciting free-for-all!
For each name, there seems to be a pattern like: the suggestion, the anonymous source tease, the "confirmation," the competition (from other teams), the doubt (from the trading partner), the denial (of any of one or more of these things), the re-suggestion (with or without a new wrinkle), rinse and repeat.
In a way, it's sort of like if every Cleveland fan suddenly became obsessed with 24-hour celebrity gossip. You know, like: "Do you think Angelina Jolie might adopt a kid from Panama?" "A so-called 'source' says she will adopt a kid from Panama." "'Star' magazine has confirmed that Angelina is adopting a kid from Panama!" "But other 'sources' say she may be adopting from Costa Rica, not Panama." "'Sources' in Panama say the country prefers to keep all of its orphans." "Angelina's rep has denied the 'Star' report, and says she has no plans to go to Panama."
And then: "Do you think Angelina might send someone to Panama to adopt a kid for her?"
[Case in point: Apparently, I started a mini freak-out in some Cavs forum because, in a post on this site, I suggested a Daniel Gibson + Delonte West for Corey Maggette trade . . . while poking fun at Chad Ford's Cavs-could-revamp-their-entire-roster article . . . and while I was mocking freak-outs in forums.]
It's all madness. And it can be too much, at least for me. It's addicting, it's emotionally-wrenching, it's exciting, it's exhausting, and it's upsetting . . . in alphabetical order.
Hopefully, you know when too much is too much . . . and can step away.
But in case you don't . . . and judging by some of the comments I've seen, some of you may not . . . I put together a fun test that will let you know if the trade deadline has you out of your mind.
Here it is:
#1.) Would you be devastated if the Cavs were not able to make a significant trade by the deadline? (Meaning, they aren't able to bring in Amar'e Stoudemire, Antawn Jamison, Andre Iguodala, or anyone else rumored for Zydrunas Ilguaskas' expiring contract.)
#2.) Would you be devastated if the Cavs traded J.J. Hickson with Zydrunas Ilgauskas (his contract, and maybe body, too) for Stoudemire or Jamison? (Not including the Troy Murphys and Corey Maggettes of the NBA. If we traded both Z and J.J. for those guys, devastation is expected.)
#3.) Do you feel the Cavs need to make a move to be a title contender? (Notice I didn't say anything about a guarantee. That's because there are never any guarantees. Not when the 2007 Cavs team somehow made the Finals, and not when the 2009 Cavs team somehow didn't. If there were, the season wouldn't be any fun . . . and the games wouldn't need to be played.)
#4.) Do you feel that a trade for Stoudemire or Jamison would have such a negative impact, that the Cavaliers would no longer be a title contender? (Adjustment periods can be overcome, like they were several times in 2008, in 2009, and this past November and January.)
#5.) Do you consider any deal the Cavaliers could make better than no deal? (Is the mere notion of definitely making a move more important than who it'd be for / who's actually available?)
#6.) Do you consider every deal the Cavaliers could make as destructive as any deal? (And for those on the opposite side, is there no move, at all, that you'd be willing to consider?)
#7.) Did you dream about Corey Maggette last night?
#8.) Did you dream about Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski last night?
#9.) Do you think LeBron's decision to leave or stay in Cleveland hinges completely on what Ferry does before Thursday? (Of course, that's assuming Ferry doesn't do something impossible either way . . . like trade for Chris Bosh or make some sort of gutting / Isiah Thomas trade, involving all of the following: J.J., Daniel Gibson, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams. Attention forums: Those are NOT real trade rumors.)
#10.) Would a trade or non-trade affect your ability to enjoy the rest of the season?
And Extra Credit: Are you able to read Cavaliers trade rumors, speculation, analysis and denials . . . with reasonable amounts of excitement, disappointment and concern . . . without becoming completely worked-up, infuriated, exasperated and/or infatuated? (To the point where it affects your real life?)
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you should take a timeout . . . of maybe an hour for every "Yes" you answered. Don't worry, if the Cavs trade for Stoudemire, or if Phoenix GM Steve Kerr announces that he's not trading Stoudemire, you'll hear about it when you get back. I promise.
You may even get lucky and completely miss a whole trade rumor cycle. Personally, I could've gone without hearing the Corey Maggette one. You may have really enjoyed that one, I guess, and may have wished you never heard the Rip Hamilton one. Or whatever.
The point of all this is to remind everyone that as recently as last Thursday . . . when the Cavs were beating up on the Orlando Magic, for the second time this year, without Mo Williams . . . the idea that we needed to make a trade to have a shot wasn't there.
A month ago, even with a few rocky games out West, not many people thought a Z-for-anyone trade would be necessary to keep LeBron James in Cleveland. In fact, before Shaq's emergence over the past month, most of the fans I talked to didn't even want to consider losing Z for 30 games, let alone risking losing him for the season.
Now, before the Amar'e bandwagon crashes through my door, you should know that I'm not saying we shouldn't make a trade. Not at all. If there's a steal to be made . . . anything from petty theft to grand larceny . . . we should (and will) take advantage of it, provided it makes our team better.
Danny Ferry will take care of that. He knows the team better than anyone - more than the ESPN correspondents and analysts . . . even the ones that have seen more than five Cavs games this season.
He knows what his coaching staff thinks of the pieces we currently have . . . which problems can be fixed in-houe . . . and what facets of the team could be solidified, and how much we can afford to give up to do that.
He's willing to take calculated risks, and knows the extent of the damage they could incur if they don't work out.
He and owner Dan Gilbert also understand the stakes of LeBron's big summer decision more than anyone . . . and realize that the Cavs can drastically sweeten LeBron's best (and maybe preferred) option with a title this year. Ferry knows what he's doing.
Just don't allow yourself to be disillusioned. Don't let yourself be suckered into thinking that this season, the championship, LeBron James, and the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers will all be decided by this Thursday . . . particularly if the opposite of what you've come to believe is essential ends up happening.
By playoff time, the team chemistry (with a smart trade) will be fine . . . and by playoff time the team performance level and preparation (without a trade) will be fine. Trust me. We're going for it.
The Cavaliers have spent the last month on a 13-game winning streak. Their record is 43-11 . . . the best in the NBA. And as Shaq recently said, "Even though we lost 11 games, you guys know we gave away eight of [them]. We're a close-knit group. Everything is going perfect."
They are 2-0 against the Magic, they are 2-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers, and they are 2-0 against Atlanta. They lost to Boston once, in their first game with Shaquille O'Neal.
They're legitimately nine players deep now . . . and by the end of the month, they'll have Mo back, and Leon Powe will be making his big debut. That's 11.
Rest assured, this will all be over on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM. Eastern. (But you knew that. You probably don't remember your sister's birthday, but you knew that.)
Later Thursday night, the Cavs will resume their season at home against the Denver Nuggets. And regardless of how the deadline turns out . . . remember that you were pretty amped about this team before all this insanity reached a fever pitch. And you should still be.
Don't let what did or didn't happen bum you out.