David Zavac, writer for Fear the Sword, had an interesting piece on Sunday that had several hypothetical trades. One that caught some traction, and could make sense down the road, is one that involves the Nets.
Of course, this is all made up and not a rumor, just a conversation, but it's fun to put the GM hat on for a little. Zavac's trade is:
Nets get: Anderson Varejao, No. 9 pick in the 2014 draft (subject to change)
Cavaliers get: Brook Lopez
The trade makes sense to a certain degree. Varejao is now an expiring contract worth $9.7 million, and of course a top-10 pick in the first round can be a building block for the Nets going forward. The Nets would have to part ways with Brook Lopez, who is the longest-tenured member of the team, and has been the foundation of this Nets team.
I spoke with the creator of the trade, Zavac, and here are his thoughts as to why the Cavs would do this trade and why they won't. Zavac also previews Varejao for us.
1. Why would the Cavs do this trade
The Cavs appear to be moving away from accumulating assets and want to start adding established talent that can help them win now. The new General Manager, David Griffin, mentioned in his introductory press conference that he would like to add a talent to help the team play inside-out basketball offensively. I am not sure there is a better pure post scorer than Lopez right now. There aren't many guys who can be efficient from the post, but Lopez is certainly one of them. When healthy, Lopez would give the Cavaliers a reliable scorer to take pressure off of Kyrie Irving from the perimeter.
2. Why wouldn't the Cavs pull the trigger on this trade?
Obviously with Lopez the issues with health are a major factor. Lopez has played less than 100 games the last three regular seasons. That should give the Cavaliers pause. The Cavaliers also need to improve as a team defensively, and I'm not sure Brook helps with that. If the team keeps Tristan Thompson and gets some development from him, the rebounding and defensive shortcomings of Lopez might be minimized. But I'm not sure that happens.
3. What can Varejao bring to the Nets that Lopez can't?
I can comfortably say that Varejao would become a fan favorite early on. His activity level is off the charts, he rebounds like crazy, has a great midrange jump shot (seriously) and is a solid passer as well. He is probably a little overrated defensively but can hold his own against most centers. He will get you extra possessions through offensive rebounds, and bother the heck out of the other team night in and night out.
4. What are some of his strengths and weaknesses
I kind of got into it before, but if there is a weakness, it's basically that Varejao tends to get injured or wear down. He plays so hard that he accumulates bumps and bruises that tend to keep him out of games. He doesn't have any recurring injuries that you could say make him injury prone, but rather it's just his style of play. He will come into camp healthy, but there is always the chance that lands wrong, gets bumped hard, or twists something. He never relaxes on the court.
Does Varejao have any prior injuries that could lead to a potential problem?
In the last couple years he has dealt with a fractured wrist, and then last season a hurt quadriceps. What was supposed to be a routine procedure for the quadriceps turned into a life threatening scare when blood clots developed after his surgery. He ended up missing most of the season. This past season he played 65 games. The games he missed were basically just from bumps and bruises from his physical style of play. He doesn't have any recurring injury issues, exactly, but random things seem to pop up. If you limit him to 20-25 minutes a game, I think he could be pretty durable.
Thanks to David for his words on Varejao and for conceiving an interesting trade like this one. It is tough for me to say if I would accept this trade because Lopez is a game-changing center. Lopez, when healthy, is a top-five big man and is the best scoring big in the league. Varejao is also five years older than Lopez. The two have missed a ton of games. Varejao has missed 162 games in the last four years, compared to Lopez's 150 missed games over three.
That being said, the Nets can use a top-ten pick in this deep draft while also acquiring a high-motor center that can defend who also becomes an expiring contract next season.
Ugh. I don't know. Lopez's foot is what makes this a difficult call, so I will say yes to this trade, but I will probably change my mind in five minutes. Good thing I don't make these decisions!
- NBA Offseason: Looking at potential (FAKE) trades to remake the Cleveland Cavaliers - Fear The Sword - David Zavac