After many rumors swirled about their plans leading up to the NBA’s trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to make only one move. In two separate deals on Thursday, Cleveland acquired forward Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic and traded longtime Cavalier forward/center Anderson Varejao to the Portland Trailblazers. They also traded guard Jared Cunningham to the Orlando Magic who’ll be waived by the team. In addition, the Cavaliers sent a protected 2018 first round pick to Portland for taking on Varejao’s guaranteed 19 million dollars left over the final two years of his contract, to which the Trailblazers will pay as they have decided they’ll waive Varejao according to mutliple media reports. Portland sent Cleveland a 9.6 million dollar trade exception which the Cavs can use in any trade by Feburary 18, 2017. They also sent part of the 10.5 million dollar trade exception they had to Orlando to be able to take on Frye’s 8.1 million dollar salary for this season. Frye also has two years left, in which he’ll make 7.8 million in 2017 and 7.4 million in 2018.
Frye gives the Cavaliers another strech power forward to work as they have in Kevin Love. He’s a pretty good 3 point shooter with a career average of 38.7 percent from long distance. He’s struggled the last several seasons with the Orlando Magic since signing with them in July of 2014. After four seasons with the Phoenix Suns in which he averaged at least 10.5 points per game in each season, Frye averaged only 7.3 and 5.2 points per game in each of his two seasons in Orlando. He’ll bring some energy off the bench in Cleveland and be able to fit with the small ball direction the Cavs want to go with as we gear up for a possible Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors. It’ll also allow the Cavaliers to be able to spread the floor now no matter if Love or Frye is on the floor. I’m not expecting Frye to be the “X-Factor” for the Cavaliers but I expect him to be a key piece as the team makes a run for a championship.
It is however bittersweet knowing Anderson Varejao won’t be apart of a potential title run with the Cavaliers. Being here his entire 12 year NBA career, Varejao always brought great energy whether it was off the bench or as a starter. He stuck with Cleveland during the post Lebron James era and was able to witness the return of Lebron and the revival of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball. I thought it was a mistake giving him the 30 million dollar extension two years ago due to his extensive injury history but I think that was more a token of gratitude for his hard work and loyalty to the team and city. I know Andy will go and be a good piece for whoever will sign him once Portland waives him. He can help a contender which pains me to say because I don’t want him ending up with another contending team because he’s a good defender and that might spoil a potential championship to the city of Cleveland but Andy has earned the right to go wherever he wants to go or whoever wants him but it’s going to be tough not seeing the “Wild Thing” in a Cavaliers uniform but I wish him nothing but the best going forward and i’m looking forward to one day seeing his #17 uniform hanging in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Cavaliers now currently have two open roster spots after today’s trade deadline. Now the buyout period has begun, teams can buyout players’ contracts and make them free agents. Here are some players to watch during this period.
-Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson
-Boston Celtics forward David Lee
-Utah Jazz forward J.J. Hickson
-Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin
Now according to mutliple media reports, Joe Johnson is not interested in a buyout and wants to remain with Brooklyn. So if I’m the Cavaliers, as soon as they can become available, I’d pursue Martin and Hickson. They both fit what the team is looking for, they both know the area as Martin is from Dayton and Hickson played for the Cavaliers from 2009 to 2011 and I would think both would want to contend for a championship. I’m sure the Cavs won’t be the only teams interested and there could be more players bought out that haven’t been discussed through the media but as of now these are the two players I’d love to see the team sign before the playoff run.