In the NBA, trade talks and rumors seem to be an ongoing process throughout each season as General Managers are always looking to improve their roster as they prepare for the playoffs or the future. The trade chatter seems to be especially abundant and taking place earlier than usual this season though, especially in regard to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Grant, is known for constantly keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the league in search for ways to improve the Cavs. He’s also known for usually emerging as the “winner” in trades. There have already been numerous rumors reporting the Cavs shopping Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao to other teams, but nothing substantial to this point.
With the Cavs improved play of late and a few impressive games from Waiters, I would prefer that the Cavs stay put for now and allow this young nucleus to continue to develop, unless there’s a deal on the table they can’t pass up.
Trades usually take place closer to the trade deadline date (February 20th) but there are several teams looking for improvement or future flexibility earlier this season. This is an important week when it comes to trades for a lot of teams because Sunday, December 15th marked the first day that free agents signed in the off-season are available for trades. Thursday, December 19th also marks the last day that teams can receive players in trades and then be able to still trade them at the deadline in February.
If the Cavs do decide to pull the trigger on any trades, here are three possible options:
The Cavs trade Anderson Varejao and C.J. Miles to the Orlando Magic for Arron Afflalo.
This trade would benefit the Cavs because Afflalo fits a need for them. With Waiters coming off the bench, successfully, Afflalo would be an upgrade over Miles and has shown that he can be a consistent scorer. He would help with the floor spacing the Cavs need and can handle the ball if need be as well. His salary might be a little more than the Cavs want to take on right now, but he could be a good fit.
The Magic have been noted as being open to trading Afflalo this season since they are in a rebuilding mode, and this trade would improve their tanking strategy even more. They would also have the option to buy out Varejao (who is only partially guaranteed) next season and allow Miles to leave via free agency, freeing up more cap space.
The Cavs trade Varejao, Miles and Alonzo Gee to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III and Kendrick Perkins.
This trade would give the Cavs two young, promising players in Lamb and Jones III, and a serviceable back-up center for the time being. There are few centers I like less than Perkins, but I’d deal with it for a season if it meant obtaining Lamb and Jones III. Lamb has a smooth jumper and would be able to give the Cavs some much-needed shooting from outside. He is shooting 41 percent from beyond the ark so far this season and averaging nearly 10 points a game in 20 minutes with the Thunder. Jones III is getting limited minutes with the Thunder, but has the size and talent to be a role player for the Cavs. As a 6’11” small forward, he has the length to bother opposing players and the skill to also knock down the long ball. At 21 and 22-years of age, respectively, Lamb and Jones III would be good assets to obtain for the future.
Varejao would be a near-perfect fit for the Thunder, who seem to be one player away from winning it all. He would provide them with the spacing they’ve needed and help on both ends of the floor. Miles and Gee would also provide them with depth and more of a veteran presence. All three guys could help put the Thunder over the top in a close series. The Cavs may have to include a second-round pick here, but the potential would be worth that.
The Cavs trade Varejao and Miles to the Charlotte Bobcats for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Josh McRoberts.
This would be a great trade for the Cavs if Grant could pull it off. Varejao and Miles are unlikely to be on the Cavs roster next year anyway and MKG has tremendous potential. He is only 20-years old and has great athleticism, energy and defensive potential. He struggles mightily with his shot and that will require some major work, but his potential would be well worth it in this deal. The Cavs would lose some shooting from the backcourt, but would gain some in the frontcourt with McRoberts, who could really help with their floor spacing at the forward position. It’s hard to see the Bobcats settling for this trade, but if they get desperate to “win now” then it’s a possibility.
Since the Bobcats have been shopping MKG in order to obtain players who will help them win this season, bringing in veterans like Varejao and Miles who can help with their spacing will do that, albeit probably not by a lot. If they are really that frustrated with MKG’s offensive game, then they just might be open to a trade scenario similar to this one. They might structure it a little differently, but either way they will be gaining much-needed veterans and shooting. It could also help their future cap situation should they let both players walk after this season.
The Cavs will most likely roll with the current roster for now, which is a good choice considering the improved play of late, but there’s no doubt Grant is looking over all of the options around the league. Should it come down to it, one of these three trades might just catch his eye.
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