The Cavaliers look like they're trying to scour the trade market for a big man this offseason. They may be interested in kicking the tires on Pau Gasol, Omer Asik, and Robin Lopez, according to Brian Windhorst on "The Really Big Show" on ESPN 850 WKNR this morning.
Per Windy, a few players to watch for Cavs: Omer Asik, Pau Gasol, and Robin Lopez— Aaron Goldhammer (@HammerNation19) July 1, 2013
Conrad wrote about Asik last night, and my thoughts are pretty much the same. If you can acquire him cheaply and if Gilbert is willing to pay the $15 million in the final season of his deal, sure go ahead and get him.
The player I'm particularly interested in is Gasol. For reasons I'll probably write about later tonight, I think an Anderson Varejao for Gasol swap makes a whole lot of sense for both sides, both financially and talent-wise. Gasol would give the Cavs a legitimate scoring presence in the paint, plus a still-solid defensive center when healthy. But that's for a more full-length post.
Finally, Lopez is a pretty interesting name, and one that looked a lot more likely to be traded before the Pelicans dealt Nerlens Noel to the Sixers. Unless they go out and sign another center, I'd be surprised if he was dealt. We'll look at it from the Cavs' perspective anyway though. Besides looking like Sideshow Bob from "The Simpsons," there are things that Lopez does well that would fit in with Tristan Thompson's skill set. Lopez is a decent post scorer at .81 PPP, especially flashing a solid 6-9 foot hook shot that utilizes his length over big defenders. He also showed potential in the long midrange in a small sample size this season, shooting 53% on 42 attempts from 16-23 feet.
Having said that, Lopez isn't a perfect idea. Like his brother Brook, Robin's a pretty pedestrian rebounder (which could be covered by Thompson, in theory). He is a pretty solid post defender that only allowed .73 PPP against him this season in post-up situations, plus he's excellent against the pick-and-roll roll man statistically (he finished in the top ten among all players against roll men in Synergy's database, allowing only .58 PPP). The biggest problem he faces defensively is that he struggles to defend when put on an island on the perimeter because of a lack of foot quickness, which means he may not fit in Mike Brown's defensive scheme. He has one more season left at $5.3 million, then is an unrestricted free agent. If the price is right, I'm not opposed to taking a chance on Lopez for a season to see what he can bring. But the price would probably have to be pretty cheap given that he only has one more year left and is probably the worst of the three on this page.
I'm definitely a fan of the Cavaliers being proactive in the trade market, as free agency is always an expensive crapshoot. I'm a lot more in favor of giving up actual pieces for one of these three guys than giving up money and years to Andrew Bynum because there is less risk involved here over a shorter term. Hopefully Chris Grant and the rest of the front office is able to get something done in order to shore up the front court.
Update (1:13 MT): Here is the link to the Windhorst radio spot: