The Cavs have been asking the Grizzlies about their willingness to trade Kosta Koufos, whose camp has let the Grizzlies know about their dissatisfaction with the center’s playing time this year and last, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Cavs have told teams around the league that they’re willing to part with Dion Waiters if they can net a “difference-making center” in return, and Koufos would fit the profile, Stein writes. That advances an earlier report from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who’s heard that the Cavs have been open to moving Waiters.
The Cavs are also interested in Grizzlies small forward Tayshaun Prince, as Brian Windhorst, Stein’s ESPN.com colleague, reported last week, but it’s unclear whether Memphis is ready to tinker with its roster amid a 16-4 start. The Grizzlies reportedly tried multiple times this past summer to trade Prince, but there’s been no such chatter surrounding Koufos, even though his minutes have declined in each of the two seasons since Memphis acquired him via trade from Denver. Koufos started 81 games and averaged 22.4 minutes per contest for the Nuggets in 2012/13 and saw that playing time cut to 16.9 MPG in his first season with the Grizzlies. That figure is down to 14.1 MPG this year, and he’s seeing less time on the court than fellow backup big man Jon Leuer. Koufos is making $3MM in the final season of his contract this year, a figure that would fit into the nearly $5.286MM trade exception the Cavs possess and that Windhorst expects Cleveland to use between December 15th and January 10th.
His impending free agency makes Koufos an easier trade target than his former Nuggets teammate, Timofey Mozgov, whose affordable contract runs through 2015/16 and whom Denver appears unwilling to give up, Stein posits. Mark Termini, the agent for Koufos, negotiates contracts for the Klutch Sports Group, an agency with close ties to the Cavs.
The Cavs have reportedly sought rim protection as well as a defensive stopper on the wings in recent months, apparently having had interest in Corey Brewer and Andrei Kirilenko for their perimeter in addition to Prince. Waiters has made his mark primarily on the offensive end, and while he’d like to start, as Stein notes, he’s been coming off the bench since the second week of the season. The Sixers have reportedly held interest in Waiters, a Philadelphia native, at multiple points over the last 12 months, and the Cavs reportedly discussed him with an unknown team picking in the top 10 in the draft this past June. He’s making $4.062MM in the third year of his rookie scale contract.