The closer the Cleveland Cavaliers get to the trade deadline, and the more the losses keep piling up, the worse the season-ending injury to Anderson Varejao looks. Varejao, a hustle player known for his defense and rebounding, would have made a valuable addition to a number of teams as the first or second guy off the bench for a championship-contending team. And that was in the works, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Cleveland’s most enticing trade asset – rugged Brazilian big man Anderson Varejao – was ruled out for the rest of the season in early January thanks to a torn ankle tendon. Varejao still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to have surgery on the ankle, but the severity of the injury brought an understandable halt to some thought-provoking negotiations that sources say had quietly begun to percolate between the Cavs and Oklahoma City.
Obviously, the Cavs and a lot of fans were hesitant to move Anderson Varejao, but I had said since the beginning of the season that he just does not fit in anymore. Cleveland, in the midst of a big rebuilding project, need more than a 25-30 minutes a game PF/C who averages nine points and nine rebounds a game. His contract, although reasonable, was not a good one for this team, as they need to cut costs as much as they can and start to build the team through young assets and draft picks. Varejao is not getting any younger; he's turning 29 in September.
For the Thunder, this is exactly the type of move they needed to make. They need rebounding help, badly. And his contract, although a burden to the Cavs for his production and age, is not terrible with regards to what other players are making and for a team that needs those one to two players to make a real push in the Western Conference.
The second it was announced that Andy was out for the season, I cringed. Now the hopes for added picks and additional assets who need a second chance, were buried behind other players or were simply being given up on were drastically reduced. Varejao's value would never be higher than it was this season.
So Cavs fans look to Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe and possibly Jamario Moon as players that could be moved before the deadline. Powe is not being used at all in Cleveland, but could provide depth for a team with injuries. Moon still has a ton of athleticism and is also not getting playing time. And Parker is that "scrappy veteran who can hit open jumpers" that teams crave when they're looking to make the playoffs.
As for Jamison, he will be much more valuable as an expiring deal next season, but the Cavs could still move him if the right team is willing to take on his contract. Williams is the hardest to move, but would fit in perfectly as a sixth man. The pressure would be off of him, and he could provide instant offense through drives, floaters and jumpers. Mo has always been the type of player that is better suited as a third or fourth option rather than the go-to guy or the second leading scorer.
Regardless, there is little doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers are working the phones hard to make moves happen, but they have to see the long-term picture now, which is a far cry from the "win now" attitude that was so prevalent during the Lebron Era.