5 Deals the Cleveland Cavaliers Could Construct Around Anderson Varejao
Fans in Ohio have been debating this very thing for the last couple years.
On the one hand, Varejao has been a tremendous asset for the Cavs. He is big and athletic and plays with passion.
On the other hand, he has had injury issues, is fast approaching his inevitable decline and has a big salary on a team that is far from contention.
Thus far this season, Varejao has done his part, leading the team in rebounds with an astounding 13.7 to go along with the second most points on the team (15.9).
He is the type of player whom contending teams will covet come the trade deadline, and someone that should bring back a pretty penny should the Cavs choose to pull the trigger.
Cavs Trade Anderson Varejao to Milwaukee Bucks for Larry Sanders
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Cavs trade Varejao to Bucks for Sanders, Tobias Harris and Drew Gooden
The Bucks have made some moves that put them on the verge of contention in a weak Central Division. They have a few guys who are in their prime and are in need of veteran leadership on the front line. They also need some defensive toughness down low, especially when it comes to rebounds.
Varejao would immediately make the Bucks a contending team. They would finally have a stud offensive rebounder and fantastic low-post defender. They also would have a veteran who is great at setting picks for a couple of excellent backcourt scorers.
For the Cavs, this gives them some young talent. Sanders is a solid scorer and rebounder who makes this team even younger and pairs well with Tristan Thompson.
Harris is a promising small forward, a position of desperate need for Cleveland.
Gooden is basically a throw-in to make the salaries match but would be a nice veteran to help usher in the young guys.
Cavs Trade Varejao to Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith
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Cavs trade Varejao and Daniel Gibson to Hawks for Josh Smith
The Cavs are looking to bolster their small forward position, and Smith could be a game-changer. He can score, is an elite defender and can grab rebounds like few guys his size.
The Hawks are looking to change their culture, and it starts with Smith. For too long he has been the face of his hometown squad, and it is time for the two sides to part.
He also has an expiring deal, which could be the only hiccup in this deal. The Cavs would need to know that Smith was looking to re-sign with them after the year or else this would be a waste.
Cavs Trade Varejao to L.A. Clippers for DeAndre Jordan
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Cavs trade Varejao to Clippers for Jordan
The Clippers are in serious win-now mode. They have a largely veteran team that is looking to ride the last few years of Chris Paul's prime for a long playoff run.
The Cavs are looking to get younger and more athletic. Jordan would provide that.
So the obvious question for Clippers fans would be: "Why would L.A. want to trade a young guy who does what Varejao does for Cleveland?"
Varejao is much more polished and consistent than Jordan. He also is more physical and has a higher motor.
Varejao is built for a contending team. Jordan is built for a young team. This is a perfect marriage.
Note: Jordan would need to waive his no-trade clause to complete this trade.
Cavs Trade Varejao to Charlotte Bobcats for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Cavs trade Varejao to Charlotte for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and DeSagana Diop
It can be argued that the best trades result when both teams leave the bargaining table unhappy. Should this trade go down, that would certainly be the case.
So why exactly would Charlotte deal this year's second overall pick?
An argument could be made that Charlotte didn't want Kidd-Gilchrist in the first place. They had just traded for Ben Gordon, so they really didn't need a shooting guard like Bradley Beal or Dion Waiters.
They also didn't want to reach on a presumed project like Andre Drummond even though they needed a big man more than a swingman.
As good as Kidd-Gilchrist has looked so far and as good as he could eventually become, swingmen are way more common an occurrence than athletic near-seven footers who play with a high motor.
But Kidd-Gilchrist gives the Cavs a smart, high-motor small forward who plays great defense and gets to the hoop. Varejao gives Charlotte a reliable post player who can anchor their defense. Diop is a throw-in to make the salaries line up.
Cavs Trade Varejao to Utah Jazz for Paul Millsap
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Cavs trade Varejao to Utah for Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors
On its face, this trade seems to be lopsided in Cleveland's favor. Both Millsap and Favors are having good seasons and are still young.
But Millsap has an expiring contract, and Favors is just now starting to live up to his high draft status.
This deal gives Cleveland options. They can try to re-sign Millsap and build a somewhat smallish frontcourt around him. Or, they can try to deal Millsap again for a draft pick or two to a contender before the trade deadline.
Worst-case scenario, they let his deal expire and use that money for a free agent swingman.
Favors gives the Cavs a shot-blocking athletic big man. If he continues to progress, he would make a nice pairing with Tristan Thompson and would form a scary defensive frontcourt.
Varejao instantly turns Utah into one of the best frontcourts in the league. With Al Jefferson scoring down low and Varejao providing defense and rebounding, Utah would immediately see a higher playoff seed come into focus.
Utah really needs to bolster their backcourt, but the Cavs don't have anyone who fits the bill for Utah.