We rounded up rumors on the Cavs earlier today, but Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal has more on Anderson Varejao, whom one league executive believes would be the top target on the trade market if the Cavs decide to dangle him. The 30-year-old Varejao has been a revelation this year after returning from a broken wrist that ended his season in 2011/12, averaging a career high 15.1 points and a league-leading 15.3 rebounds per game.
The Cavs thought they found Varejao's eventual replacement when they landed Tyler Zeller in a draft-night trade with the Mavericks, believing Zeller could eventually put up numbers similar to those Varejao has posted over his career, according to Lloyd. Cleveland entered the season thinking this could be the year for a Varejao trade, especially if his value escalated after a strong start. Varejao's performance has been much better than anyone imagined, however, and that means the Cavs may have trouble finding fair value, Lloyd writes.
The Cavs would be interested in the Raptors pick that's currently held by Oklahoma City, but the Thunder are not in the market for Varejao, Lloyd says. He hears the Thunder would be unlikely to meet Cleveland's demands, which might include Serge Ibaka.
Varejao's value figures to be high again next season, and the Cavs believe Varejao can be effective beyond his current contract, which runs through 2015 at an average of more than $9MM per season, as Lloyd points out. So, it seems there's plenty of reasons why Cavs GM Chris Grant and company wouldn't make a deal this year. The Cavs believe he's on par with the other top big men in the league, but there's no guarantee they'd be able to get one of those guys or a comparable player if they traded Varejao for assets with greater long-term potential but smaller immediate return.