Few days before the start of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a tough decision regarding their 15-man roster. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue informed veteran center/power forward Channing Frye that he’ll not be going to play much this season. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Detroit Pistons could be interested in acquiring Frye if the Cavaliers will trade him at a reasonable price.
Since the arrival of Dwyane Wade, the Cavaliers were forced to unload some of their players to reach the 15-man roster limit. Jose Calderon, Richard Jefferson, and Channing Frye emerged as the top candidates who could be cut from the Cavs’ rotation. With the absence of Isaiah Thomas, the Cavaliers obviously need Calderon to back up Derrick Rose, leaving Jefferson and Frye battling for the final roster spot.
Most people believed Jefferson was the odd man out and expected him to be traded to a team with a salary cap space. However, the predictions went wrong after coach Tyronn Lue announced that Channing Frye will not be included on their 15-man roster. According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Lue apologized to Frye during their conversation and the veteran big man vowed to be ready whenever the Cavaliers need him.
“That’s the type of vet you want around,” Lue said. “Unbelievable character guy. He understands it’s a long season. There’s going to be opportunities.”
In the Cavaliers’ first three preseason games, Channing Frye was noticeably nowhere near Lue’s rotation. The arrival of Jeff Green could have also affected the Cavs’ decision to cut Frye. Green, who’s currently a Lue favorite, is younger and a more versatile player than Frye.
The Cavaliers’ recent decision could be hinting the nearing departure of Frye in Cleveland. In late September, Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press revealed that the Detroit Pistons could be interested in acquiring the 34-year-old big man if the Cavaliers waive him or make him available on the trade market.
“I ran it by two persons with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons front office,” Ellis said.
“The response was lukewarm. With Stanley Johnson the only natural small forward on the roster, you could see the fit for the Pistons. But one person downplayed any interest in Jefferson, saying he just fits better with the Cavs. That person did say that a stretch-center like Frye could be useful since the Pistons really don’t have a player with that profile on the roster. But he would have to see what the Cavs would want for Frye.”
The Cavaliers will surely consider trading their excess player than waiving them. According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, trading Richard Jefferson, who has a lower salary than Frye, will save the Cavaliers $10 million in luxury taxes. Frye is a more attractive trade asset than Jefferson and will undeniably be useful to a team like Detroit Pistons.
Channing Frye could help the Pistons improve their floor spacing. Coach Stan Van Gundy could also start him if they want to go small ball. So far, there is no ongoing negotiation between the Cavaliers and the Pistons regarding Frye. However, if the Cavaliers will make him officially available on the trading block, the Pistons are expected to make a move and add Frye on their team.
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