With news coming down that Anderson Varejao will miss the remainder of this season, the need for another center has been amplified. With Tristan Thompson, Brendan Haywood and Alex Kirk as the only real options in the Cavs system, the team must be proactive in searching for someone that is ready to make an impact at that position. It seems the only way to conceivably fill that need is by making a trade.
Now, not all teams will be jumping in line to help out the Cavaliers. That being said, there are legitimate options available for the team to try and address their needs.
To Brooklyn: Dion Waiters, Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson and the 2015 protected first round pick via Memphis.
To Cleveland: Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson, Cory Jefferson, Markel Brown.
Why Cleveland would do it:
This would be a pretty outstanding haul for the Cavaliers considering their situation. Mason Plumlee is an incredibly athletic center that would immediately fit into the up-tempo style that the team is trying to implement. They also get a serviceable shooting guard in Anderson that can defend and spread the floor. The rest is basically cap filler that would be sent down to Canton.
Why Brooklyn would do it:
Brooklyn is in the process of trying to start over, but they're doing this without any draft picks and very little promise in their current form. Out of their three big contracts, Brook Lopez appears to be the one that's most likely to live up to the contract if he can stay healthy. In Dion Waiters the Nets receive a dynamic scorer that would likely do better with the ball in his hands more frequently. They also get a first round pick, which is the equivalent of running into an oasis in the middle of the desert. While Plumlee is a very good piece, this is a move that could be mutually beneficial depending on how they value Waiters.
To Cleveland: Brandon Wright (Keith Bogans trade exemption would need to be used to absorb his salary)
To Boston: Joe Harris, 2015 second round pick via Boston, 2015 second round pick via Sacramento
Why Cleveland would do it:
Brandon Wright is a very good rim protector that makes smart decisions on offense. He's a savvy veteran that can give you 20 minutes of great production on both ends. It's possible to make this move without giving up Joe Harris, but if the Celtics are asking for an actual player in return, I would be willing to part with him in this scenario.
Why Boston would do it:
Brandon Wright came over in the trade for Rajon Rondo. While Wright does address some of the rim protection needs Boston has, it's clear that they are building for the future and have multiple young centers that they are in the process of evaluating. Kelly Olynyk has been having a breakout season and Tyler Zeller has shown a bunch of promise. With the presence of those two, it's unlikely that the twenty seven year old Wright will be itching to sign in Boston. With Danny Ainge looking to gather assets, this could be a decent move for the Celtics.
To Cleveland: Timofey Mozgov (contract absorbed by the Keith Bogans trade exception)
To Boston: Arron Afflalo, Boston's 2015 second round pick (via Cleveland)
To Denver: Jeff Green
Why Cleveland does it:
Mosgov would be a worthwhile use of the trade exception, and if they only need to surrender a second round pick, they should jump all over it.
Why Boston does it:
Jeff Green has been a poor fit in Boston and they've been looking to move him for some time. They gain a great two way player in Afflalo, cap room and their own second round pick.
Why Denver does it:
With Gallinari going down for the season, yet again, the Nuggets are left without a solution at small forward. The team gains someone that can play the four in smaller lineups and that might excel next to a closer in Ty Lawson. Green hasn't been able to be "the guy". But he just might be able to fit into what Denver is trying to build.
While these scenarios may not necessarily work, they at least give a glimpse of what might be possible or where a discussion could begin between teams. Once most trades get completed in the NBA, the general fan reaction usually resembles a loud "HUH". We never know how GMs think, or what they value. But this is my best stab at some potential ideas in the wake of the Varejao injury.