Hi guys, long time lurker, first time poster. I'm way out here in Hawaii, but still love to follow my Cavs, thank god for LeaguePass.
Seeing as we've had our first NBA trade of the regular season, even if it was a trade involving a Charlotte bench player, now seems as good a time as any to jump into the mania that is thinking about potential trade deals involving the Cavs this season. If this post gets any kind of positive reception I'd love to keep making an attempt at a weekly post involving different deals the Cavs could conceivably make as we get closer and closer to the trade deadline. (Note: I have no inside information and all opinions are purely my own speculation.)
One of the most plausible trade's that I see going forward involves a player near and dear to many of our hearts, Anderson Varejao. Andy has been playing out of his mind this year, posting career highs in points and averaging 13.7 rebounds per game (good for second in the league behind only Zach Randolph). Now there has been many discussions here and on other forums about the value of Andy, both to our franchise and in the league as a whole. Personally, I am of the opinion that while I hate to see Varejao leave the Cavs he is playing himself on to a contender. His incredibly team friendly contract of three years at 8.3 million is a steal for the PER of 25.2 that Varejao is currently posting. If the Cavs continue to be competitive but ultimately lose games, as they have so far this season, they will wind up back in the lottery and thus will have a potentially greater incentive to deal Varejao.
So assuming the Cavs are looking to sell at the deadline what is a potential fit with a would be "buyer". Perhaps the most obvious trade, in my unsolicited opinion, would be with the Oklahama City Thunder. The Thunder look to have taken a step back with the Harden trade, and seem to be in need of one more piece. To that end they have Kendrick Perkins on their roster, Perkins seems to have left his best days behind him back in Boston. He is owed a salary roughly equal to that of Varejao at 7.8 million over three years (a 500k difference). However, in terms of actual production Perk is giving a mere 9.0 PER with 4.4 PPG and 5.1 RPG. If the Thunder are looking for one more piece to help provide energy, rebounding and a bit of scoring for the next few playoff runs Varejao seems to fit the role much better than Perkins for roughly the same money.
Now for the tricky part. In order for the Cavs to bite on a deal like this Chris Grant would have to be wowed with some young talent, that means the Cavs would likely ask for both Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones the third. These two promising rookies would help solidify the putrid bench into something infinitely more watchable in the short run and give Cleveland a potential starter at small forward and a highly enviable three man back-court rotation. To make this deal more appealing to the long term minded Sam Presti the Cavs would also likely be forced to hand over a first rounder, the likely late round pick from the Lakers seems the obvious choice here.
So to recap then the Cavs would get Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones the third. The Thunder get Varejao and a late first rounder, shaving about 2.5 million off their payroll in the process (though they would probably bring up a D-Leaguer or a veteran at the minimum so the savings are relatively small).
The short term payoff for the Thunder would be excellent, but Sam Presti has not proven to be one to value short term interest over long term flexibility. So while I think this deal makes a great deal of sense for both sides, especially given the way that Varejao and Perkins are playing to start the season, the chances of a deal like this happening are relatively slim, I'd say around 20% or lower. However, given the way that the Cavs and Cavs fans value Varejao I would look for this type of trade if Varejao were to be moved at any point during the season.
Let me know what you think, any criticisms or other variants of this trade are welcome.