NBA Trade Deadline: Cavaliers Rumors, Predictions, and Crazy Trade Ideas involving Varejao, Deng, Jack, and Others

This is probably my favorite time of year that doesn’t involve the playoffs or the draft. The NBA Trade Deadline is always a blast until it actually happens and then it seems like almost nothing has been accomplished of any real significance to the league.

The Cavaliers have made some impactful deals over the course of the past several years most notably trading Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis and his giant contract along with a first round pick that turned out to be Kyrie Irving. Make no doubt, that is the single most important moment in this Cavaliers rebuilding project. It’s a shame that the guy who pulled that off, along with getting first round picks for Ramon Sessions and JJ Hickson as well as acquiring Luol Deng for essentially nothing won’t be here to see this through to the end, but it is what it is. Chris Grant had a good run. And if his firing is indeed the watershed moment in this perplexingly awful and yet still hopeful season for Cleveland, then it was all worth it. Now it’s David Griffin’s turn to try and work some wizardry.

There have been a lot of rumors floating around about the Cavaliers and whether or not they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. We’ve heard plenty about three individuals in particular on the Cavs. Anderson Varejao is obviously a target as he has been for the past several seasons mostly due to his worth to contending teams as a veteran big who can play both the 4 and 5 and is really a fantastic player. Deng has come up again because of his worth to other contending teams and also the fact that he’s a free agent at the end of the season and there had been reports prior to this recent string of team success that Deng was unhappy in Cleveland and may not sign back with the team this summer. And the third is Jarrett Jack who just hasn’t fit great with Kyrie and Dion Waiters and seems a bit redundant offensively. And then of course there’s the fact that he still has three more years left at $6M per on the deal he signed this past summer.

I’ve been hard at work with the glorious Trade Machine (is it sad that I have it bookmarked?) and here are some deals that I worked up…

The most logical in my opinion…

Anderson Varejao to the Rockets for Omer Asik

Screenshot (66)

I really don’t understand why this trade hasn’t already happened. It makes perfect sense to me for both teams. The Rockets need another big who can play behind and with Dwight Howard. Varejao is versatile enough to play both the 4 and 5 and because he has added the 15-18 foot jump shot to his game he could play alongside Howard for stretches. Asik never fit next to Dwight. This is appealing for the Cavs because Asik would bring the interior defense that they’ve been lacking. He’s not a great offensive threat but he’s a capable player and knows his limits. He’s a great rebounder and would be an awesome addition to the Cavs front line. It works for both teams but the Rockets have been asking the moon for Asik even though they hardly play him.

Another Varejao option…

Varejao to the Thunder for Kendrick Perkins and Jeremy Lamb

Screenshot (70)

This one has been bandied about for some time as Varejao would be awesome in OKC. They love Perkins though for some reason even though he’s mostly useless. His only purpose in this trade would just be to make the salaries work. I don’t love this trade but it would net the Cavs a young 2-guard in Lamb who is really coming into his own as a great outside shooter. I’ve been a huge Lamb fan since his days in college at UConn and actually liked him better than Waiters in that draft. He’s a much different player than Dion as he’s much more perimeter oriented and is mostly a spot-up shooter, though he is capable with the ball in his hands and has some post-up skills. If that doesn’t feel like enough of a return for Andy then they could also try to pry Perry Jones out of OKC who would be a nice project (because we need more “projects” obviously) as a future small forward.

This trade would obviously hurt the Cavs this season as it would put Tyler Zeller into the starting lineup for good. He’s been much improved this season but I’m not sure he’s ready to be a full-time starter yet, if ever.

One that Chad Ford floated today…

Tristan Thompson to the Warriors for Harrison Barnes…

Screenshot (67)

Ford included Thompson with a list of other young bigs who “intrigue” the Warriors as a possible trade partner for Barnes, who hasn’t been great this year. I don’t really like Harrison Barnes that much to be honest. He’s been a negative player this year, especially when playing at his “natural” position to small forward. He’s actually been a better player when playing out of position at either the 2 or the 4 because he creates mismatches. If you watched that Warriors/Spurs series in last year’s playoffs you’ll remember how Barnes supposedly “broke out” in that series. Yet the reality is that most of Barnes production offensively was coming because he was being guarded by Tony Parker. The Spurs were willing for Barnes to get as many points as he wanted because it took Golden State out of their natural offense and thereby neutralized Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Unsurprisingly, the Spurs won the series, in large part because of this strategy. Barnes is ultimately a bench guy that is nice in as far as he can play multiple spots if you need to flex with your match-ups. He is not a viable starting small forward on a contending team though in my opinion.

I don’t understand Cavs fans’ general love affair with Barnes. Most of it stems from the team’s long-term lack of a SF and that they viewed Dion as a reach when Grant took him at No. 4 in the draft. But it’s not even a question at this point as to who the better player has been. Waiters is a much better player than Barnes and frankly he has a higher upside. But people love Barnes because he went to Carolina and was a highly touted player coming out of high school. But he’s just not a great basketball player and really wouldn’t move the needle in Cleveland in my humble (or maybe not humble) opinion.

A home for Deng in the desert…

Deng to the Suns for Jeff Green and Alex Len

Screenshot (69)

Three team deals almost never happen in the NBA because they’re so tough to pull off. But this one actually makes some sense I think. In that Chad Ford post I referenced earlier he also brought up Deng as a target for the Suns who have a bevvy of assets. They also could be looking for some more front-court depth which Bass would provide. For this to work the Suns would need to send at least a first round pick and maybe two to the Celtics along with Okafor. Boston won’t mind giving up Green or Bass as they’re looking to bottom out and shed as much long-term money as possible. This trade makes the Suns a better team right now and makes the Celtics a worse team but adds to their future assets.

For the Cavs it makes sense because you’d be giving up Deng and still getting back a small forward in Green who is younger and cheaper and still an effective player, though not as good as Deng. They’d also get Alex Len who has great potential as a building block at center down the road. If you read me prior to the draft you know that I was very high on Len and think he has all the skills to be a great NBA player. But he’s a project. I don’t know if the Cavs want to take on too many more of those as they already have their hands full with guys like Thompson and Anthony Bennett. But this would be a move that would help the Cavs in the present as well as be an aid for the future of the team.

A new home for Jack…

I’ve got nothing.

After the deal with the Nets fell through and saw them look elsewhere for a home for Jason Terry I don’t know who else would be interested in Jack especially at his salary. I mean, maybe you could send him back to Golden State for Barnes and pieces but I don’t know that they’d want to commit to that money when they’ve got Klay Thompson coming up for a new deal soon.

You never say never in the NBA but right now it’s hard to find a home for Jack that makes sense.

The dream that I won’t allow to die until it’s officially dead…

Thompson, Waiters, and Gee to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love

Screenshot (68)

The Wolves are being stubborn with Love even though they aren’t going anywhere with him and he can leave in a year and a half (which he probably will). So I don’t think this will happen.

But it would be awesome for the Cavs. For starters, this is the only kind of deal that I’m giving up Waiters in. I think he’s going to be great player and I don’t want to move him. But if you’re getting back a player as great as Love, you give up everything short of Kyrie to make that happen. The Cavs with Kyrie and Love could just run nothing but high screens and kill teams. It’s just wonderful to even dream about. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it would be glorious if it did.

In the end, I don’t know if the Cavs will actually end up doing anything. They’re actually in a nice spot right now. The team is playing well and the reality of the Eastern Conference is that you’re never out of it. It wouldn’t be impossible for the Cavs to climb up to a spot where they’d be hosting a first round playoffs series. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves obviously as it’s just five games. But it’s been a very promising five games as the team has really looked energized and seems to playing with so much more cohesion and general love for one another. David Griffin and the Cavs could just decide to let this thing ride out and see what happens in the offseason. They also could try to make a hundred moves and just not find any willing partners. Trades are always tricky in the NBA this time of year. It’ll be fun to see how it all plays out.




One thought on “NBA Trade Deadline: Cavaliers Rumors, Predictions, and Crazy Trade Ideas involving Varejao, Deng, Jack, and Others

  1. Pingback: Cavaliers Trade for Spencer Hawes: And the value of second round picks | Cleveland the GOAT

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