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Cavs may be using Dion Waiters to target Kosta Koufos

Rumors are pointing towards Dion Waiters being shopped by the Cavs for a rim protecting center.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Cavs have shown the willingness to part with guard Dion Waiters if it would net them a rim protecting center. In Stein's report he again mentions that the Cavaliers have been trying to convince the Denver Nuggets to bite on a Waiters for Timofey Mosgov swap, only to have Denver decline. With those efforts proving futile, the Cavs attention has reportedly turned to Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos, who plays limited minutes behind Marc Gasol.

Few players on the Cleveland Cavaliers are as polarizing as Waiters. He is a tremendous talent with a competitive fire that makes him endearing to his fans and his teammates, but he has struggled to make a positive impact on the court so far this season. His poor play and poor decision making have made him the center of speculation as the piece the Cavs would part with to address some of their deficiencies on the defensive side of the floor.

Stein explains why a Koufos trade may be more likely to happen than the attempted Mosgov trade:

In Denver, Mozgov is under contract next season on a highly favorable team option valued at $4.95 million. The Nuggets can't be faulted for wanting to keep a productive big man at that price for themselves when they know Mozgov can't bolt this summer. Koufos, by contrast, is an unrestricted free agent next summer whose camp, sources say, has made it known to Grizzlies management that it has less than pleased with the limited role carved out for the 7-footer over the past two seasons.

Koufos is a 7-foot center that supposedly is a rim protector. He is buried Memphis behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but a look at his defensive metrics don't exactly scream hidden gem. Other than the height difference, there's no numbers that suggest he would do a better job defending the rim than Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varejao. Koufos averages 3.9 points a game on 51.6 percent shooting on the offensive side of the floor. While he may be part of the deal, one would assume Cavs GM David Griffin would explore other options or look to have other pieces included from Memphis or a third team in order to create a trade that has more positive impact for the Cavs. But it's clear that Waiters' value around the league is pretty low at the moment and it may require giving up more than just him to get one of the assets they desire.

Stein also mentioned Brian Windhorst's report that the Cavs are interested in Tayshaun Prince. With Waiters and the Cavs' trade exception, there is a scenario where the Cavs net both Prince and Koufos from the Grizzlies.