The Cleveland Cavaliers' pursuit of Amare Stoudemire continues, but in case they can't land the Phoenix Suns' All-Star forward, they have begun talks with the Golden State Warriors about Corey Maggette.
Despite their league-high 13-game win streak, the Cavaliers are leaving no stone unturned in attempting to improve their team and bring the city its first major sports league championship in 46 years.
In addition to speaking to the Washington Wizards regarding Antawn Jamison and the Indiana Pacers regarding Troy Murphy, Cleveland is in discussions with the Warriors about Maggette, according to four sources with knowledge of the talks.
Stoudemire is far and away the Cavaliers' first choice, and sources close to Stoudemire said a report Monday that he told Cleveland he doesn't want to play there is false.
Sources say the Cavaliers are willing to send Zydrunas Ilgauskas, J.J. Hickson, a first-round pick and another player (to make the deal work financially) to Phoenix for Stoudemire, but while the Suns mull over their options, Cleveland remains one of the most active teams in the league leading up to Thursday's trade deadline.
The Cavs might need a Plan B, as the Miami Heat are pushing hard to land Stoudemire as well, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Monday night.
It is not clear whether the Cavaliers' second choice is Jamison or Maggette. The discussions with Golden State have centered around Cleveland sending Ilgauskas and his $11.5 million expiring contract to the Warriors for Maggette. Other players, perhaps Cleveland's Danny Green and Golden State's Devean George, would have to be added to make the deal work financially.
As is the case with all their potential trades, the Cavaliers hope their trading partner would waive Ilgauskas so he could re-sign with Cleveland 30 days later. But no such deal can be struck beforehand, per league rules.
The Cavaliers' interest in Maggette, who is averaging 20.8 points per game for the Warriors, is somewhat surprising. While the 30-year-old small forward has long been regarded as one of the league's most gifted scorers, he has three years and nearly $31 million left on his contract and has been somewhat injury prone.
Maggette, who has a career scoring average of 16.6 points, has also made the playoffs only one time in his 11-year career with Orlando, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors. That has led some to question Maggette's ability to help a team win, but the same questions dogged Jamal Crawford before he was traded to Atlanta last summer. Crawford, a former teammate of Maggette's in Golden State, has helped the Hawks become an Eastern Conference contender.
LeBron James is aware of Cleveland's interest in Maggette, and sources close to him say he believes Maggette could help the Cavaliers.
Maggette can play shooting guard as well as small forward, and while he's not a great outside shooter, the Cavaliers could at times play James and Maggette together on the front line in a small lineup.
Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.