WFNY Cavs Mailbag: Trading Andy, Slamming Waiters


Q: What would be a big enough trade package for the Cavaliers to part ways with Andy? What type of package can we expect? — @TUBPodcast, @ccib1142 and @KohlK50

This situation is obviously one of dicey proportions. On one hand, if the team is looking to trade Anderson Varejao, the best way to maximize value is to sell high — the best rebound rate and sixth-highest PER in the NBA is undoubtedly qualifying as “high.” That said, Varejao is helping the Cavaliers win games, statistically doing so, thus far, more than Kyrie Irving1. Moving one of the focal points of the team’s new and improved offense will not only mean a substantial hit to fan morale but will undeniably hurt the team’s chance to win games at any point beyond the deal. This all said, Andy is easily the team’s best touchable asset. The team will want at least a first-round draft pick plus a player on a rookie contract in any deal. The question will be, if they move him, can they get a pick that will be worthwhile, or will it be something similar to the Ramon Sessions deal of 2011-12?

Q: It seems like the “media” was click to slam Waiters with criticism and slow to heap prasise. Does this bother you? — @Ryan_Snakes

Immensely. I’m all for criticism when it’s warranted. Those that lobbed baseless grenades at the team’s front office following the draft was bad enough — it’s not the team’s fault that their scouting metrics are not of public record. But to jump to career-arc conclusions during the summer league was that much worse. Now Waiters is in shape and making a difference on a team that was in dire need of a scoring threat from the shooting guard position. This all said, my opinion on the criticism/praise scale does’t matter; Waiters has used this all as fuel to improve and, as he said a few nights ago, work harder than ever to “perfect his craft.” Given that he constantly remains humble about his God-given talents, the lack of praise may actually be a good thing.

Q: What did Tristan Thompson do in the off-season to improve his free-throw shooting? — @WayneEmbrysKids

Obviously not enough. Thompson continues to hit one half of his free throws, often doing so with some of the worst free throw form seen this side of Shawn Marion. This is not to say that Thompson isn’t working on his offensive game at every possible moment. Last Wednesday, he stuck around after practice to work on his post-game footwork; one day later, it was free throws, complete with globe-like rotation on his release. I expect a streak similar to last season, where the free throws simply find a way through the rim. Unfortunately, it appears that he’ll need something like this simply to remain above the .500 mark for the season.

Q: Is anyone paying attention to Delonte, and if so, is anyone learning anything from the issues? — @RailbirdJ

Quietly one of the more depressing stories of the early season, West — for those who haven’t followed — was suspended twice during the preseason and was subsequently released. We’re talking about a solid role player who has been in the playoffs each of the last three seasons despite playing for three different teams, averaging 14.3 points per-36 minutes with the Mavericks in 2011-12. The way he has been on and off rosters since his departure from Cleveland, in my opinion, speaks volumes to how well the team handled his mental issues, ensuring that the player as a person came before the player and his role on the team.

Q: How does one obtain a [copy of the third edition] Cavs Zine? — @TonyMo88

Delayed a bit due to Hurricane Sandy, the Bible of Cavs Fandom 3.0 has been printed and bound. It will be available, as a very limited run — hand numbered, through Chunksaah Records. It is undoubtedly the best compilation of Cavalier fan-based writing, analysis and random thoughts that Internet has to offer. Factor in the ever-impressive cover art and fact that a ton of hard work went into bringing this to life, it will be well worth it for those who snag a copy early in the release process.


Thanks to all who sent in questions this week. We’ll be doing this every week for the rest of the season. Have a question you want answered? You can find me at @WFNYScott.

  1. Varejao has a 0.7 offensive win share as compared to Irving’s 0.5 []
  • Thomas Pestak

    Nice. Glad you pointed out how little value the Sessions trade netted. I’ve said this before, but value can be in the eye of the beholder. On the Cavs, Andy’s “value” is more critical than on a team that plays any semblance of defense. He plugs holes that don’t show up in the box score and might not be as necessary on other teams. Much of his value might be redundant. Also, many teams would bring him off the bench the way the Cavs did for all those years because they would be hesitant about matching him up against big bruisers (the Cavs have no choice). For everyone that as a matter of principle thinks we should trade Andy because of “sell high” – stop. For everyone that has some sort of package threshold let’s not only hear it – but give even ONE reasonable example. here is what I would want and no team in the NBA would do it. *Lottery pick + young crazy specimen project* Remember that in the NBA, young crazy specimen projects can get max deals – that is how valuable they are. I’m talking about Javale McGee types. This would be laughed at so hard you might have to call an ambulance. But if you traded for Javale McGee and the Nuggets were in full tank mode – they would still get the better end of that bargain for another 2 years. They wouldn’t do it, and here’s the real kicker – tanking teams don’t want winners – they WANT projects. There is absolutely nothing a borderline team would offer that would be satisfying enough – unless they own someone else’s unprotected lottery pick and are willing to deal someone young. I doubt the Spurs are giving up Kawaii Leonard and the Kings unprotected pick that they fleeced (making that second part up – although it wouldn’t surprise me). You might think I’m as crazy as the GM thinks I am. But that’s where you don’t understand how valuable Varejao is. Even beyond the advanced stats and fan favor and locker room presence. He covers up everyone else’s blemishes, and more importantly he allows so much flexibility (that guys like TT or Gee or even Zeller do not allow for) in your rebuild project. The knock against my reasoning is that he’s old and he won’t hold up. Look deeper. His style of play won’t diminish because it’s not based on elite athleticism – it never has. The guy is 7 feet tall and can barely dunk and it’s been like that his whole career. Highly SKILLED players play long after they “should” have declined especially in today’s NBA. How many times did the pundits say it was time for Tim Duncan to hang it up. He’s highly skilled. he shed a few pounds he’s still potent and you can still win a title with him as your PF/C. Varejao is the same way and he really has less miles than most players his age. In addition, he doesn’t show signs of succumbing to nagging/degenerative injuries – just some bad hits and turned ankles. KEEP ANDY.

  • Thomas Pestak

    here’s another example for Cleveland fans (that applies so much less and actually made some sense at the time but will nonetheless elicit an emotional response): Don’t RETRADE Omar Vizquel for Jhonny Peralta.

  • mgbode

    you would rather have kept Sessions for 3 more months than flip him for the 1st round pick we used to nab Zeller (needed 2x2nd rounders too) + the ability to swap the Miami pick (looking like high 20s at least) for the Lakers pick (slow start but they will likely turn it on – possibly high teens, low 20s).

    what more exactly would you want out of the Sessions trade?

  • Chicago216er

    Not to mention the value of the extra 3 or 4 losses that not having Sessions provided the team. Could be the difference between Waiters and Terrance Ross.

  • Steve

    Right. People act like there was a big market out there for Sessions. There wasn’t. They turned a couple months of meaningless bench minutes into a rotation player who will develop just at the exact same time that Irving will. Something > nothing. Always.

  • Steve

    Vizquel wasn’t traded. He left under his own power as a FA. Over the next six seasons, Peralta made ~$11 million with the Indians and provided 14.2 WAR. Over that same time frame, Vizquel made $19 million and provided 4.7 WAR. I know, Omar is a legend here, but the decision is pretty easy. Underpay a guy in his prime, or overpay a guy in his declining years.

    You move Varejao because you want to consolidate your talent to when you actually have a contender. Varejao may be a great player, maybe adding 6-8 wins to a team over a full season, but all that’s doing for us now is costing us lottery ball combinations. Turning him into an asset that is growing as the Cavaliers become a playoff team and eventually (hopefully) a contender is more useful, even if the that player near reaches the peak of Varejao. I know it’s painful and frustrating, but the Cavaliers need to build a roster than will truly contend in a few years, and not just try to scrape out as many wins as possible right now.

  • Thomas Pestak

    When do you expect the Cavaliers to be a contender. 2 years? 4 years? 6 years? He’s 6 years younger than Kevin Garnett is today and has played 1/3 as many games and has played 1/4 as many NBA minutes. His value has never been higher because he’s never been given the opportunity to play starters minutes before LeBron left. He’s been on an uptick ever since. Is a draft pick today an asset in 2 years? 4 years? At some point you round out your core, sign some missing pieces, and go.

  • Thomas Pestak

    Yeah or if it was only 2 extra losses we get Anthony Davis. Come on…

  • Thomas Pestak

    I’m just glad he pointed out it was a weak trade. Sessions is >>>>>> Donald Sloan. He’s young, and he’s exactly what you want out of your backup – a guy that can make score. I’m not that upset he’s gone, but he had more value to us and to the Lakers than we got back in return (we took on THEIR garbage salary). There could have been other avenues to Zeller anyway.

  • Steve

    I expect the Cavs to be a contender (say, home court in the first round) in 2014-15. So we can just sit here and count on a guy who has been hurt in back to back seasons to age like one of the most durable hall of famers of all time, or we can have reasonable expectations. I’m sorry, but Garnett is just not a fair comparison for any player. Varejao’s value is actually not that high because of those injury issues. At this point for the Cavs, you amass as many young players as you can and figure out who’s going to be part of your core. We’re way too far from being able to round it out.

  • Steve

    But is Sessions that much better to be worth 2/10 instead of 1/700k? Especially when you’re going to be giving ~65 of your backcourt minutes to Irving/Waiters. This is the same discussion as above. Do you pay ~5 million for a backup PG who is going to start getting old when you are ready to contend, or do you get a desperately needed big man who is still young for 5 years ~11 million total?

  • mgbode

    i am baffled that you are continuing this argument. we were NOT re-signing Sessions. we have Irving and so Sessions was blocked from starting. he got to start for the Lakers for awhile, but when they got Nash, he decided his best shot at starting was with Charlotte (beaten out by Kemba, but still).

    we were losing him in 3 months. we ended up getting the key asset we needed to make the Zeller trade. we still have another potential asset coming (that is looking good right now).

    how could you think that was a weak trade?

  • Thomas Pestak

    If you read what I wrote and re-stated. I said I’m GLAD he pointed out we didn’t get good value. If you have no use for that brand new car you bought, do you just give it away? Or do you try to get something for it? What is wrong with evaluating a trade from both sides?

  • mgbode

    your analogy fails though. to put it in perspective, if you are only allowed to drive your new car for 3 more months and then HAVE to give it away for free or you can trade it for a pickup truck and the possibility at trading up on another car, then is it really worth hanging onto for 3 more months?

    the amount of time we had left on Sessions contract is tied to his value. We didn’t just get good value, but we got great value on Sessions.

    evaluating the trade from the Lakers side: they got Sessions who certainly helped them at the PG spot in the regular season. however, he was completely out-manned in the playoffs and then fled to Charlotte (as they got Nash). I’m sure they are not really upset (as they got Nash), but it’s not like they are thrilled with it.

  • Thomas Pestak

    taking on Luke walton’s 5 million dollar contract was more than enough for a late 20s pick. Giving up Sessions for the hell of it was not good value. What is so hard about this?

  • Steve

    Taking on Walton’s contract is valuable if we were dealing with a smaller market team. The Lakers don’t care how much they have to pay him to sit at the end of the bench. You were only getting something back if you gave up Sessions, and how much should a couple months of backup PG play really be worth?

  • Albert

    Nice, intelligent conversation here. Feels great to be reading about the Cavs again.