The Cleveland Cavaliers probably won’t make the playoffs this season because they have too much of a deficit behind Charlotte and Atlanta and a tough March schedule to maneuver.
Still, it was the right move to try to get in the post-season, and the trades obtaining Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes were worth making, and an effort should be made to keep both for next season.
After all, the Cavs are still a very young team with Kyrie Irving just turning 22 years old, Dion Waiters just reach that age in December, and Tristan Thompson will hit 23 years of age later this month.
All three players have plenty of improvement which will be made by experience and getting stronger with age.
Even Hawes won’t turn 26 until just after the season ends, and he has played well in a Cavs’ uniform thus far, averaging almost 14 points and nine rebounds since coming over from Philadelphia at the trade deadline.
Keeping the free agent would give the wine and gold depth so they can finally make the move they should have made the season after LeBron James left town for Miami.
It’s time to deal Anderson Varejao.
Every year, the Cavaliers trick themselves into thinking “Wild Thing” will be healthy, because when he is, he is a quality NBA big man, averaging almost 8 points and 8 rebounds per game, mostly due to a highly active style of play.
He takes charges, dives for loose balls, and keeps plays alive and does so with relentless effort.
Because he’s been the best big man on the team since James left, he has often been overexposed, playing too many minutes. When that happens, the Brazilian gets hurt, thus having no impact on the team.
This has been a trademark of Varejao’s career. He misses a lot of games, playing 75 games or more just three times (’06-’07, ’08-’09, and ’09-’10) in his ten-year NBA career.
Yes, injuries are a part of sports, but when it happens to the same players year in and year out, it is not a coincidence. They are injury prone, thus no longer reliable to the team they play for.
The same thing happened with Courtney Brown for the Browns, and Grady Sizemore for the Indians. They simply couldn’t stay on the field long enough to make a contribution.
In those four years since he appeared in 76 games in 2009-2010, Varejao has missed 162 out of a possible 291 games, that’s more than half of the contests played by the wine and gold.
He has currently missed the team’s last 10 games with a back injury.
Assuming he will be back soon, the acquisition of Hawes means Mike Brown can play Varejao less minutes, meaning he will have a better opportunity to stay in the lineup, and off of the training table.
The Cavs need to establish Varejao’s health for the rest of the season so they can use him as a trade chip this summer in an effort to help the organization. The last few years, his injuries were season ending, so nobody was willing to deal for him until he showed he could get back on an NBA floor.
His skill set would be very important to a team trying to make a push toward a title, so however the GM is this summer, should be able to make a favorable deal for Cleveland.
It will be a bittersweet day, because Varejao is the last link to the glory teams in Cleveland, including the one that made the NBA Finals in 2007. But the time has come to make the move.
What is needed is for Varejao to get back on the floor this season.