The Cleveland Cavaliers may have officially declared their intention to become players before this year's NBA trade deadline.
On Tuesday, January 12, Cleveland announced a deal that sent young shooting guard Joe Harris, a 2017 second-round draft pick and cash to the Orlando Magic for a 2020 second-rounder. This move not only saves the Cavs over $3 million in salary and taxes, but it also opens up a roster spot for a future trade.
With the deadline set for February 18, the Cavaliers now hold three trade exceptions they can use, including the largest in the NBA.
The good news for Cleveland? When healthy, this is a complete and balanced team with no major weaknesses. Every position goes three deep, save for one: With Tristan Thompson's move to the starting lineup, the Cavs could still use a backup power forward to stretch the floor behind Kevin Love.
While none of the following will (hopefully) have to make a major impact, all serve as solid insurance packages that should be available at the deadline.
Brandon Bass, PF, Los Angeles Lakers
2015-16 Stats: 17.5 MIN, 6.1 PTS, 4.1 REB, 0.8 BLK, .584 FG%, 18.63 PER
Signed by the Lakers this past offseason in a last-ditch effort to field a somewhat competitive team around Kobe Bryant, Bass has no place on a now-rebuilding, lottery-bound squad.
Lost in all of the messiness has been Bass' strong play off the bench. He's shooting a career-best mark from the field while posting personal highs in player efficiency rating, offensive rating (129) and box plus/minus (1.6).
The Lakers are better on both ends of the ball with Bass, who's in the first season of a very friendly two-year, $6 million contract. While not a three-point threat, Bass has been king of the mid-range jumper. He's hit an impressive 46.4 percent of shots from 10 to 16 feet and 45.6 percent from 16-feet to the three-point line in his 11-year career.
Tayshaun Prince, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
2015-16 Stats: 20.9 MIN, 3.1 PTS, 1.9 REB, 0.9 AST, .451 FG%, 6.08 PER
The former Detroit Pistons star is 35, possibly playing his final season and contributes next to nothing on offense.
So why in the world would Cleveland want him?
As he's done every year since breaking in with the Pistons in 2002, Prince can still defend. His 6'9" frame disrupts passing lanes, aided by an encyclopedia-like mind that's guarded the very best the league's had to offer.
With Prince on the floor, the Timberwolves defense improved by 7.5 points per 100 possessions. Opposing teams' effective field-goal percentages drop by 5.0 percent, while their turnovers rise with Prince defending.
Another key factor would be his acceptance of a lesser role. A starting gig in Minnesota is nice, but wouldn't being a role player on a championship contender be better?
A veteran like Prince, who's logged nearly 5,000 playoff minutes and won a ring, would be a welcome addition.
Darrell Arthur, PF, Denver Nuggets
2015-16 Stats: 20 MIN, 7.1 PTS, 3.7 REB, 0.8 BLK, .421 3P%, 13.11 PER
A solid reserve in the NBA for six years now, Arthur has really begun to expand his range.
The Nuggets are already 10 games below .500, with no clear path to contention in sight. Arthur can become an unrestricted free agent next season if he should choose, so the asking price shouldn't be that high.
"A role player who understands what he can and can’t bring to an NBA court, Arthur said he will play whatever front court position Malone wants to use him at and revealed he spent the summer trying to become a better 3-point shooter from the corners," wrote Benton Smith of KUSports.com.
Although he's playing solid minutes on a losing team, Arthur has improved Denver's offensive rating by 6.6 points per 100 possessions of play. He's been a good defender who's started eight games this season. His 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes would be second on the Cavs.
Channing Frye, PF, Orlando Magic
2015-16 Stats: 18.3 MIN, 5.8 PTS, 3.2 REB, 1.1 AST, .422 3P%, 13.21 PER
Frye was an important part of the Magic's strong start this year, serving as a stretch 4 on a team desperate for outside shooting.
While Orlando clings to a playoff spot, one has to wonder if they'll become buyers or sellers at the deadline. This is a team that simply can't knock off any of the top 5-6 squads in the East during a playoff series, and at some point Orlando needs to find minutes for former No. 4 overall pick Aaron Gordon.
As Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote last fall, "Sources around the league say Channing Frye is available now for very little, though Magic officials deny it."
Frye is 32 and would be better suited on a contender like Cleveland. His outside shooting has been excellent this season, and at 6'11", Frye could be used as a stretch 5 in small lineups.
Losers of five of their last six games, it may be best for the Magic to capitalize on Frye's value now. If they do, the Cavs should bite.
Greg Swartz is the Cleveland Cavaliers Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @CavsGregBR.
Stats via Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise sourced and are current as of Jan 12.