Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 12/8/12
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Anderson Varejao was everything I loved about basketball. He was hustle, he was emotion, he was heart. He was 36 minutes of controlled chaos, spinning a fury around opposing frontcourts. But not anymore. He’s now much, much more than that. The Wild Thing is no longer a gimmicky role player, he’s the best center in the Eastern Conference and one of the best players in the NBA. He leads the NBA in every major rebounding category, and has been one of the ten best offensive players in the league. No that wasn’t a typo, Andy has molded himself into an offensive gem. Andy has always created mayhem running the pick and roll, but his ability to play point forward, run dribble hand offs, and create his own shot in isolations have taken his offense to new levels. Number 17 in Wine and Gold is no longer just an asset for Chris Grant and the Cavaliers, he’s the prize pig at the fair. Any team would happily take the Wild Thing’s services, especially a serious playoff contender, but there are few contenders with enough assets to offer the Cavaliers in return. The most prominent rumor involving Varejao, one that has been ciruclating around Cavs forums for weeks, is Andy to OKC. The Andy to OKC rumor has the Cavs receiving the rights to Toronto’s top 3 protected 2013 pick, Perry Jones III, and Jeremy Lamb in exchange for Varejao. First off, this trade can’t work straight up since it doens’t comply with the NBA salary cap rules. But let’s say that they work out the extra details and/or teams needed and make the deal work with those pieces being the real meat of the deal. Even though it is top 3 protected, 1 a high lottery pick is very appealing. This would most likely give the Cavs two top 10 picks, giving Chris Grant one last draft to build his core going forward. Although Perry Jones III has incredible upside, and Lamb was a lottery pick, I don’t see either of these two featuring in a rotation of a serious playoff team. In my mind, the Raptors pick makes this trade a 50/50 decision for Chris Grant. PJ3 and Lamb don’t do it for me, but it’s hard to turn down a top 10 pick. Other than OKC, none of the top teams in the leauge have high draft picks to trade, thus Chris Grant would have to set his sights for lower first rounds pick along with young prospects. The Celtics, Mavericks, and Rockets have all been noted as teams that could use Andy’s services, but none have any draft picks or prospects worth a serious response from Grant. The deal that makes the most sense to me is Varejao to Denver. Even before we start talking basketball, is there a better city in America for Anderson Varejao than Denver? 2 This progressive, laid back city would no doubt fall in love with the Brazilian’s Sideshow Bob hair, man hugs, and Samba style. In exchange for Varejao and Luke Walton’s expiring contract, Cleveland gets Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and Wilson Chandler. The Nuggets get one of the best big men in the NBA and will no longer have to start Kosta Koufos. 3 This gives the Nuggets a menacy frontcourt of Varejao and Keneth Faried to run out against a West that is loaded with frontcourt talent. Faried and Varejao would give the Nuggets protection on the glass and the ability to run like the wind with Ty Lawson. The cornerstone of the deal for the Cavaliers is Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari is already in the top half of small forwards in the league, only 24, and can seriously shoot it from the top of his almost 7 foot frame. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no Dirk, but he’s good enough to have played in either the Thunder or Heat’s rotation last year.  Wilson Chandler gained recognition as the versatile sixth man of Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks. Chandler would play positions 2-4, block shots, play above the rim, and hit threes leading New York’s second unit. He did a bit of everything and became a fan favorite in Madison Square Garden. Chandler, along with Galinari and Mosgov, was traded from New York to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal and then he played in China during the NBA lockout. Recently Chandler has been battling injuries and is yet to return to the level of play he reached in New York. Timofey Mozgov 4 is a 7 ft 1 in Russian that clogs the lane and rebounds well in limited minutes. Anything Mozgov brought to Cleveland would be bonus, but with any seven-footer there’s always oodles of potential to be tapped. The conversation surrounding a Varejao trade will no doubt swirl until February 21 or until his locker is cleared out of Cleveland Clinic Courts. Plenty of teams would love to have Andy in their corner come playoff time, but few can afford him. Of the few that can afford him, only a couple are in position to make a move. The Thunder are an obvious option, but the Nuggets make the most sense to me. Besides OKC and Denver, I’m certain the Cavs will get plenty of offers for Varejao involving late first round picks, but is that truly enough?  A late first rounder is a fine asset to have, but it’s also what they got for Ramon Sessions. OKC? Denver? Cleveland? Where Andy will be come February 22 is a mystery, but it’s a certainty Andy trade talk will dominate Cavs headlines all year long. Let the discussion continue. ___________________________________ Teams have learned from the Clippers mistake that led to Cleveland winning the lottery and the rights to draft Kyrie Some might argue Portland A punishment not fit for even the most evil basketball fans. Got to love that it’s Timofey instead of Timothy. Almost as good as Anfernee Hardaway instead of Anthony
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