Bring in an athletic, defensive-minded power forward to the Spurs. Erase the national debt, end all wars, and create perfect harmony in Washington, D.C. Do these all seem about the same likelihood of happening these days? Why couldn't we just trade all our less-than-essential pieces for Josh Smith this off-season, right?
Our own dear editor, the great J.R. Wilco himself, foresees a move during this season. So, he asked me to keep my bony finger as close to the pulse of the league as I can get it and to report on any remotely and/or reasonably potential trade targets.
We Spurs fans are delighted to see our boys 14-4 and already making history this season. It's a harbinger of good things to come, but what if we could hasten those things along by shoring up any weakness that may exist? What if we could make a reasonable move to acquire a big man that would bring strong defense and athleticism to our front court rotation? For this cause, I write on.
In this fourth installment of TTT, we take a look at Cleveland's Anderson Varejao. Untouchable? Hardly. Cleveland, though publicly dragging their feet on dealing their productive center, may be actually shopping him hard. Varejao is having the season of his life, averaging 15 ppg and 15 rpg a game. However, the 6'11, 260 lb. Brazilian is 30 and doesn't have enough years left in the tank to be the cornerstone of the Cavalier's building project for the future. Best move then? Deal him while his market is at its peak, and use what you get in return to stockpile and rebuild.
(I throw one out there each week. You feel free to shred it in the comments.)
Here's my thinking: a team in the Cavs situation needs all the cap room they can get. If they answered honestly, their front office would have to admit that Varejao is not part of their future success. He is on the back end of his career, and he's expensive.
The problem for Cleveland is, other teams know those things too. So the Cavs probably aren't going to get equal value for him. See, If the organization is going to turn things around behind Kyrie and Tristan, then they HAVE to move their only eligible and valuable piece. Then, if they can clear even more money space in so doing, they might actually be able to lure a couple of top flight free agents, because those players see the Cavs have the dollars to bring in more real talent.
When Jackson's contract comes off Cleveland's books next year, it adds another ten million that they are under the cap. Plus they would be getting a quality sharpshooter and experienced vet in Neal and a young, talented, and improving big in Splitter.
Too little to get Varejao? Think about it. They're not getting any of the Big 3, and Kawhi is also likely off limits. Danny Green could be an option, but he isn't on the trade block yet, and regardless, he isn't going to make the Cavs attractive enough of a team to draw in a big name FA. Money could do just that, though. Jackson's expiring contract could be just enough to allow Cleveland to go get a Josh Smith or Andrew Bynum, plus a highly productive wing.
Who is available for them to sign? Cleveland's backcourt is probably set with Kyrie Irving and rookie Dion Waiters, so they should focus on their frontcourt. If they could get, say, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum, and Jason Maxiell to sign with all their inordinate amounts of cap space, then all of a sudden, they have a playoff team again. And it's the kind that isn't leaning on one star. They would be a collection of good to very good players, which is much, much more than they can say right now.
The question a team has to ask itself before it makes a trade is "are we better after the dust settles?" Locking up Varejao to finally give Duncan that twin tower again for his final years in the league would certainly give San Antonio a resounding yes in answer to that question. Creating extra cap space to bring in enough real talent to return to the playoffs would also leave Clevelanders answering, "Yes, we are better after such a trade."
That's all I can ask, really.
A Moment of Weakness:
(I pretend that PATFO has suddenly lost its collective senses. You wish you'd never had the thought cross your mind.)
Spurs send Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard to Cleveland for Anderson Varejao, Luke Walton, Daniel Gibson, and Omri Casspi. Since I'm even jokingly suggesting we trade Manu on PtR, I better say something along with it, so I'm not arrested... If we made the above trade, we would be clearing about 13 million extra off the books at the end of the year, to go with the possible 6 million we clear if Blair, Splitter, and Neal don't resign. Then we go sign Josh Smith, Andrei Kirilenko, and and Paul Pierce and beat everyone in the world. At the same time. But by now you've learned to excuse my ravings in this section, right?
Tune in next week for more shocking and thought-provoking madness.
Qualification: I am well aware that PATFO shall likely never make any transaction such as I mention above, but if they do, I am entitled to months of gloating and preening over my lucky guess. Thank you for your understanding.