The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted to add a shooter to their lineup, and they did just that by acquiring forward Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic in a three-team deal on Thursday afternoon, according to ESPN.
The Cavs will send veteran power Anderson Varejao and a conditional 2018 first round pick that is top-10 protected for two years to the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as Jared Cunningham along with a second round selection to the Magic as part of the trade. Orlando will also receive a second round draft pick from Portland.
Frye, a 6-foot-11 stretch four, struggled this season and averaged just 5.2 points a game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from beyond the arc in 17.1 minutes a game. The 32-year-old had seen his minutes decrease over the last two months as he was just seeing 13.5 minutes a game through six February games and received two DNP’s coaches decisions. Frye was the only Magic player to record a positive, plus/minus rating this season.
Frye is making $8.1 million this season and has two more years left on his contract valued at $7.8 and $7.4 million per Basketball Insiders.
Frye should thrive in Cleveland’s new uptempo style that emphasizes three-point shooting and spacing. The Cavs average 10.1 made three-pointers (fourth most) on 28.1 attempts (fifth most), though they only make 35.6 percent of those attempts (ninth best).
Frye will likely be the first frontcourt player off the bench for Cleveland, thus reducing Timofey Mozgov’s minutes even more. Mozgov has struggled this season, being limited to single-digits in each of the Cavs past six games. The 7-footer is averaging just 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes of action.
By trading Varejao, Cleveland saves more than $10 million in salary and luxury taxes. Varejao is owed $9.7 million this year, $9.3 million in 2016-17, and a partially guaranteed $4.5 million in 2017-18. He also had a 5 percent trade kicker that will net him an additional $626,825. The trade also gives the Cavs some roster flexibility as they now only have 13 players on their roster.
The 33-year-old didn’t see much playing time this year, though he was productive when he did play substantial minutes and always played hard and unselfish. Varejao, who appeared in 31 games this season with the Cavs, averaged just 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
Varejao had played his entire 12-year career in Cleveland and did not want to leave.
If I go anywhere else and win a championship, it’s not going to be the same,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I want to win a championship in Cleveland. That’s where I want to stay. I love Cleveland.”
Portland made out well with the Varejao trade and their other deal earlier today, which saw them grab backup point guard Brian Roberts in exchange for cash considerations. The Blazers got to the salary floor at $63 million and added a 2021 second round choice in which they got from Miami. Portland used its stretch provision on Varejao and also waived Tim Frazier to get down to the league maximum 15 players.
It will be interesting to see what Orlando will do with Cunningham. The 24-year old saw limited action with Cleveland this year and likely won’t see much with the Magic. Orlando has seven players who can play either guard position — Elfrid Payton, Brandon Jennings, Shabazz Napier, CJ Watson, Victor Olidipo, Evan Fournier and Devyn Marble.
[Photo by John Raux/Associated Press]