Cleveland Cavs Reportedly Shopping Tyler Zeller, Clippers Interested in Trade

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller warms up before facing the Denver Nuggets in the third quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

UPDATE: Thursday, Feb. 20 at 1:05 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal

While a trade involving Tyler Zeller and Reggie Bullock might have been a fun deal, as it frees up young talent from both the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers, it now appears unlikely. 

As CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports via Twitter, this just isn't happening any longer. 

If the Cavs are still intent on shopping Zeller, it seems like a new buyer will need to emerge. 

--End of update--



While most of the Cleveland Cavaliers' trade-deadline attention has focused on Luol Deng and Jarrett Jack, center Tyler Zeller has emerged as another likely victim of new general manager David Griffin's house cleaning.

And in news of the go-figure variety, the Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly among his suitors:

Los Angeles' interest isn't entirely surprising. The Clippers roster is still youthful enough for Zeller to fit in, and there's no question he can bring something to the table.

The second-year North Carolina product averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game last season, but his opportunities have decreased on account of this season's crowded frontcourt. With the deadline acquisition of Spencer Hawes, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Zeller's playing time may decrease even further.

Thus far this season, he's been putting up 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while playing about half as many minutes as he received last season. 

Cleveland's interest in dealing Zeller says more about the organization than it does about Zeller. After GM Chris Grant was fired earlier in February, there's been a clear mandate to accelerate the Cavaliers' rebuild and put Kyrie Irving and Co. in position to win sooner rather than later.

To that end, there is no sense in burying a young talent while there are greater needs at other positions. 

That's where the Clippers' Reggie Bullock might come in. The rookie (also out of North Carolina) is a 6'7" swingman who would provide additional depth on Cleveland's wing. With Earl Clarke being sent out in the Hawes deal, the Cavs now have an additional need for a guard/forward to relieve Luol Deng, Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles. 

This wouldn't be the deadline's most significant deal, but it speaks volumes about the Cavaliers' eagerness to shake things up in short order.