Eastern Notes: Cavaliers, Celtics, Pierce

Brendan Haywood may be the Cavaliers‘ best trading chip for replacing Anderson Varejao, reports Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, which is ironic because Varejao’s contract is structured similar to Haywood’s. Because Haywood makes $2MM this season and a non-guaranteed $10MM next year, he is considered attractive to teams wanting to shed salary. Varejao, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles, has the same type of contract, with $10MM non-guaranteed for 2017/18, the final year of his deal.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The trade that brought Brandan Wright from the Mavericks has created a logjam for the Celtics, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. The addition of Wright, who came to Boston along with Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder, has left coach Brad Stevens with five big men who deserve playing time. The situation will undoubtedly result in Boston getting phone calls about their availability before February’s trade deadline. “Sometimes I think it’s better not to play somebody and communicate that than to play guys four minute spurts,” Stevens said. “I think that’s tough. I don’t think it’ll be anything we settle on anytime soon.”
  • The WizardsPaul Pierce lamented the Rajon Rondo trade, telling Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post that “the last of the Mohicans is gone.” Pierce was the star of the Celtics team that won the NBA title in 2008, but that squad has been dismantled, with Rondo leaving as the last piece. “When you have a star player, an all-star-caliber player and if you aren’t able to put the other star players around him or you have other young guys, you’re either going to build with him or you build without him,” Pierce said. “… since they probably couldn’t find the necessary pieces to put around him, they decided to move forward and build around the young pieces that they have.”
  • Rodney Stuckey spent the first seven years of his career as a member of the Pistons, and he points to the trade that sent Chauncey Billups to the Nuggets as a critical misstep for the franchise, observes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. “I wish they wouldn’t have traded away Chauncey, to be honest with you,” Stuckey said. “I wish they would’ve took the San Antonio Spurs philosophy of keeping all their vets and get younger guys around their vets and doing it that way. You see how successful they are.”

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

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