The backend of the Cleveland Cavaliers roster was already in a tough situation.
Point guard Mo Williams retired before training camp, then came back out of retirement and underwent knee surgery. He’s still on the 15 man roster despite never reporting to the team.
Now the roster situation just got tougher.
Backup center Chris “Birdman” Andersen tore his ACL in his knee yesterday in practice and will miss the remainder of the season. This leaves the team with only three big men and no legit center that can play.
The 15 year NBA veteran signed with Cleveland in July to fill the backup center position as well as provide that enforcer role which he was for the 2013 championship with the Miami Heat.
Prior to the injury, Andersen appeared in 12 of the team’s 24 games. He averaged 9.5 minutes, 2.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.
His contract is guaranteed and the team would have to pay the remainder of his $1,551,659 contract if they were to release him outright. Releasing him however would add four million in luxury tax and adding another player would add another four million in luxury tax penalties according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
With two injured players on the roster, there’s not much the team can do. Team owner Dan Gilbert could potentially just sign the checks and buyout Andersen and Williams’ contracts so that the team can address some holes on the team including a big man and a backup point guard.
Windhorst reported that the team will explore trade options to try and address this situation. They’ve to trade Williams but no luck so far and I’d imagine they’ll try to trade Andersen to shed his salary but no team will give up assets for a big man with a torn knee ligament.
Reserve guard Jordan McRae could garner some interest but after shining in the preseason, anytime he has been on the floor during the regular season, he hasn’t looked good and sometimes looks lost.