With Anderson Varejao out 6-8 weeks with a muscle tear in his knee, it appears unlikely that the Brazilian center will be traded on or before the February 21st deadline. Considering that the Cavaliers are amongst the worst teams in the league, it is still likely that Cleveland will be a seller in the coming trade market – even without their biggest trade chip available.
However, there are some pieces on the Cavaliers’ roster that could be of some use to a contending team. No player on the current roster will net the Cavs the plethora of talent that Varejao would have, but every draft picked added could help Cleveland get even closer to contention.
1. C.J. Miles
Miles, who can play both shooting guard and small forward, has been the Cavaliers best player outside of Kyrie Irving in the past few weeks. After starting off the season incredibly slow, Miles has become one of the bright spots on a dreadful Cavalier team. Over the past 10 games, Miles has averaged an even 14 points as the clear-cut second offensive option. Out of all the available assets, I think Miles could be the best pick-up for a team in the need of a shooter. And considering Miles has an affordable contract ($2.2 million this year with a team option for next season), the current starter could be a quality asset that comes at a good price. It all just depends on the kind of offer the Cavaliers could receive.
2. Daniel “Boobie” Gibson
If I was Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant, I would actively be trying to trade Gibson before the deadline. Gibson’s contract is up at the end of the season, and his future is cloudy at best in Cleveland. His skill set is best suited to play shooting guard, but he is built physically to be a point guard. If the Cavaliers can deal Gibson to a team looking to get a shot up shooter for a playoff run (Memphis?), pull the trigger and get something for Gibson before he leaves town. This may be hard, as he is dealing with a persisting concussion injury and will become an unrestricted free agent next season.
3. Luke Walton
With Walton having an expiring contract, expect Walton’s name to be floated out there if/when the Cavaliers get involved in trade discussions. He’s not a real piece for a contending team, but teams are always out to save money. Say a team like Boston decides to pack it in and look toward the future; trading for Walton would be a good way to clear up salary cap room in order to make an aggressive move this offseason. Again, a trade for Walton is not a move a contending team would make in pursuit of a title. It would simply be a trade to save money and create move to make a significant move in the offseason.
To be clear, none of these trades could ever net the Cavaliers what they could (would?) have gotten for Varejao, but the Wine and Gold do have some good pieces that contending teams could use in the coming months. Miles is the most attractive piece available, but the other two may make more sense for the Cavaliers financially There is still a little over six weeks until the deadline – and a lot can change in that time – but as of now, this is what the Cavaliers could and probably should look to trade right now. The only thing blocking the way is a lack of trade bait big enough to attract outsiders with Varejao off the table.