9:28am: Varejao’s injury “does not look good at all,” a source close to the big man told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
8:47am: The Cavaliers have spoken with the Celtics over the past few days about three-team trade scenarios as Cleveland continues to seek an inside player, report Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Cavs’ enduring quest to add to their front line will likely intensify if an MRI Wednesday reveals a torn Achilles for Anderson Varejao, a potential outcome that has Cleveland’s brass worried after he left Tuesday’s game and was unable to put any weight on his left leg, Windhorst and Stein write.
The Cavs have been looking to add a center, and specifically one who can provide rim protection, since a summer pursuit of Timofey Mozgov. Still, it’s apparently been a while since Cleveland and Denver have discussed him, and Kosta Koufos has seemingly been a more recent target. The Grizzlies have “kicked around” the idea of relinquishing Koufos, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote Tuesday, but the Cavs would reportedly have competition from the Kings, if not others, for the Memphis backup center. Koufos has an expiring contract worth $3MM this year that would fit into Cleveland’s nearly $5.286MM trade exception, just as Mozgov’s salary would, one of the reasons that the team sought them both, according to Windhorst and Stein.
Boston stands to net as many as 11 extra draft picks from 2015 through 2018 thanks to previous transactions, so they have plenty of assets to facilitate a swap. The Celtics have been aggressive recently in attempts to stockpile draft picks, Windhorst and Stein write, though it’s unclear if Boston continues to take that approach or if that’s a reference to their efforts prior to the Rajon Rondo trade, a deal in which they acquired two picks. The C’s also have frontcourt depth, bolstered by the acquisition of Brandan Wright in the Rondo trade, as the ESPN scribes point out. Wright’s $5MM salary would fit within the trade exception, which would make it somewhat easier for him to be traded, since Boston can’t aggregate his salary in a trade until February 19th, the day of the trade deadline. However, it’s unknown whether Wright’s name has come up in discussions between Cleveland and Boston. The teams appear to be talking about a three-team trade in which the Celtics would act as a facilitator, according to Windhorst and Stein, so that would seemingly indicate that Cleveland’s primary targets are not on the C’s.
The loss of Varejao to a torn Achilles, almost certainly a season-ending injury, would be devastating for the title-contending Cavs, who guaranteed Varejao’s salary of nearly $9.705MM this season when they signed him to an extension in October. He’s been the starter at center for Cleveland, which doesn’t possess another starting-caliber center on its roster.