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Cavs trade Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen to Hornets

In dealing ‘Birdman’, the Cavs cut their luxury tax bill and opened up a roster spot.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded injured center Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen and cash to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick, the team announced Monday. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the pick is top-55 protected in the 2017 NBA Draft, meaning the Cavs are likely to never actually get the pick.

For Cleveland, this opens up a roster spot for them to sign a player in free agency immediately or when players on other teams start getting bought out. It also saves them around $2.5 million off their league-high luxury tax bill.

Andersen was lost for the year on Dec. 16 when he tore his ACL in practice. As recently as this Saturday, Andersen was still attending Cavs home games and working out under supervision of the team’s training staff. He recently told Joe Vardon of that he did not want to comment on his contract status and that he hoped to play next season.

If the Cavaliers do make a move, one of the players they recently worked out could be a possibility. One player - Lance Stephenson - is currently playing out a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves and thus unavailable.

Jordan Farmar, according to McMenamin, was given assurances that if the Cavaliers signed someone from their tryout, he would be the man. Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinirch were the other players in attendance. It’s also possible that the Cavs could sign a player to a 10-day deal like they did Derrick Williams.