The Cleveland Cavaliers start to the regular season has been anything but glorious thus far.
That’s not exactly the start fans of the franchise were hoping for.
Nine-year veteran Anderson Varejao has been one of Cleveland’s lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal beginning to the year.
He’s currently averaging career-highs in points (15.2), rebounds (15.4), assists (3.2), steals (1.5), free-throw percentage (77.8%) and minutes played (36.4). His 15.4 rebounds are best in the association.
His stock is at an all-time high at the moment.
It may seem farfetched, considering how the Cavaliers are lacking viable options on offense and defense, but with Anderson playing as well as he is, wouldn’t it be wise to put him on the trade market and see what assets you can acquire for him?
The Anderson Varejao trade talk will heat up again, especially with the incredible Cavalier leading the NBA in rebounding — by far — at [now 15.3] per game. And he’s averaging 14.9 points, without the Cavs running a play for him. Varejao is shooting a career-high 78 percent from the foul line, and making 15-footers regularly in the flow of the game.
In the past, there has been a lot of trade talk about Varejao, but the Cavs never were real close to trading their 6-10 veteran. Their price has always been high — something like a lottery pick and perhaps other young players. The teams that treasure Varejao’s skills are contenders with low draft picks. That has not created suitable trading partners.
It’s possible — with Varejao having a career season — that could change. Oklahoma City owns multiple picks, including a possible lottery pick that originally belonged to Toronto (protected for picks 1 to 3). You can imagine Varejao adding some lightning to the Thunder. But who knows if there will be a deal.
What Cleveland needs now is young pieces and draft picks to help build towards the future. Irving, Waiters and Thompson are the only untouchables (that I can see) on the roster. If Varejao can bring in something along those lines on the market, why wouldn’t the Cavaliers strongly consider it?
His health may be a concern for teams interested in his services. Anderson has only played over 70 games three times during his career.
That’s a definite red flag.
If he can remain injury-free for the remainder of the season, potential trading partners will find themselves with a solid defensive big man who can rebound, defend the post, bring a high-level of energy on the court and grab offensive boards at a high rate (6.2, first in the NBA).
But what would be the purpose of trading away the Cavaliers best player (healthy) at the present time?
Well, despite his breakout year, Varejao is still 30 years old. He doesn’t necessarily fit into the Cavaliers new “youth movement”.
Also, how much longer can Cleveland truly expect Anderson to keep producing those amazing numbers? It would be hard for anyone to maintain that level of play, especially a player like Varejao (no disrespect of course).
His value can only go down from here. If the Cavs are serious about salvaging this season, or at the very least, receiving young pieces/high draft picks so they can compete over the next 2-3 years, then trading Anderson Varejao sooner rather than later would be the best thing possible.
He can be the ultimate difference-maker this season for a team just on the cusp of competing for an NBA championship.
I would be shocked to see him in a Cavaliers uniform after the trade deadline in 2013.
Christopher Walder is the Lead Editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You can follow him on Twitter @WALDERSPORTS