After a Sunday night loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers sit at 9-30, owners of the second-worst record in the NBA and, outside of the transcendent Kyrie Irving, possessed of relatively little that’s likely to stoke fans’ interest. In the depths of a lost season, with all eyes on the future, many fans tend to rely on trade rumors to pass the time — if there’s any chance of flipping an established veteran for younger, cheaper, more potential-laden pieces that could become foundational elements in a successful future rebuilding project, then, while it’s not exactly thrilling, it’s at least something.
Any chance of the Cavs engaging in one of those kinds of moves before this February’s trade deadline was likely all but scuttled last week, when the team announced that center Anderson Varejao would need surgery to repair a split muscle in his right leg, and that the recovery would keep him off the floor for as much as two more months. Prior to his injury, Varejao’s fantastic two-way play and reasonable contract made him a top-tier trade chip for Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant; after his injury, the Cavs’ most attractive available assets include Luke Walton‘s $6 million expiring contract and a chunk of salary cap space that could absorb a bad contract from a team seeking financial relief in exchange for, say, a first-round draft pick.
There seem to be few bites on either “asset” from the 29 other NBA teams, making it less-than-likely that the Cavs swing an interesting deal before Feb. 21. But according to Cavaliers beat man Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the team’s stand-pat philosophy is aimed at making the biggest possible splash in two summers — a deal that would welcome Ohio‘s prodigal son back into the fold: