Sam Amick of USA Today has reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers will acquire Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic in a three-team deal that will eventually send Anderson Varejao to Portland. Per Dave McMenamin, The Cavaliers will ship out a protected first rounder to Portland and a second round pick from Portland will head to Orlando in the deal. Also, Jared Cunningham will be headed to the Magic as well.
There's a ton to unpack here. First off, Frye should be a really strong fit. I've felt that the Cavaliers could use another sweet-shooting big for some time to help with spacing in lineups that don't feature Kevin Love due to LeBron's drop-off as a shooter, and Frye should accomplish this.
Frye's contract is also very reasonable in the new cap climate. He makes $8.1M this year, but over the next two seasons that number will actually decline down to 7.4 in the final year of the contract, per Spotrac.com. That long-term deal helps with Timofey Mozgov's impending free agency, and, when the cap explodes, will feel very reasonable for a player who should be getting minutes in the Cavs rotation.
Defensively, Frye isn't great in the pick and roll, but is better than you'd think as a post defender and rim protector. He's no Rudy Gobert, but he's not a hilarious disaster either.
As a shooter, hot damn, man. This tweet from Synergy is all you need to know.
Channing Frye is shooting 51% on unguarded catch and shoot jumpers and 50% on pick & pops in the half court the majority of which are 3s.— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) February 18, 2016
You know what team creates a ton of uncontested threes and runs a ton of pick and pop? Oh, that's the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Frye hasn't been as impactful as the Magic probably hoped after his breakout season in Phoenix that led to this deal, but playing with a non-shooting PG in Elfrid Payton limited his impact. He was dominant with an elite pick and roll ball handler in Goran Dragic, and I'm pretty sure the Cavaliers have a guy who can help maximize Frye.
As for Varejao, it's a bummer. He was an unbelievable Cav for the last 12 (!) seasons, and his blue collar effort and development into a skilled big man in his later years was invaluable for the franchise. However, coming off an achilles injury, his three-year, $30M contract was too much for the Cavs already stacked cap sheet.
The Cavaliers may have given up a bit more than people would like, but they've also cut $10M off their tax bill for the year. We're still waiting to hear what protections were on the first round pick, but it looks like the Cavaliers had to pay a price to dump Varejao's deal.
Trade grades, reaction, retrospection on Varejao's tenure and more will be coming shortly, but for now, this looks like a strong deal for Cleveland, and one that makes the roster better for an impending playoff run.