The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to beat Thursday’s NBA trade deadline of 3 p.m. in an effort to help their chances of bringing home the Larry O’Brien trophy as NBA champions this June. As part of a three team trade involving the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers, the Cavaliers have picked up six foot eleven power forward Channing Frye from the Magic. The deal also involves Anderson Varejao being sent to the Trail Blazers along with a 2018 first round pick. Orlando gets guard Jared Cunningham who is expected to be waived by the Magic. Orlando also gets a second round pick that the Cavaliers received from Portland..
Frye will add some much needed wing help and hopefully provide some much needed scoring off the bench. Frye is a stretch power forward who can shoot the basketball from long distance. The addition of Frye should allow the Cavaliers to play Kevin Love on the block and to present more driving lanes to the basket for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Frye is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his second season in Orlando. Frye is a career 38.7 percent shooter from 3-point range.
“Channing Frye is someone we know well. His length, floor spacing ability and locker room presence will impact us positively,” Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said. “He is a great fit with our group, both on the court and off, and we look forward to Channing, his wife Lauren, and their children, Hendrix and Margaux joining us here in Cleveland.”
Varejao spent his entire 12-year career with the Cavaliers and was a part of both NBA Finals appearances in franchise history in 2007 and 2015. Despite being a fan favorite, Varejao saw very little playing time this season under both David Blatt and Tyronn Lue following his season ending achilles injury in 2014. Varejao is expected to be waived by the Trail Blazers.
“Anderson is a special player, teammate and person,” Griffin said. “Few players have earned the respect, support and admiration of an entire organization, fan base and community as Andy did here. Those are all things that made this a difficult deal to do. At the same time, we have a deep obligation to do whatever we can to reach our ultimate goal and we believe this was a deal that improves our team now and positions us better in the future as well. We thank Andy for his hard work, dedication and contributions to the Cavaliers and our community and wish him and his wife, Marcelle, the very, very best.”
The Cavaliers are expected to use the $10.5 million trade exception from the Brendan Haywood trade last July to cover Frye’s $8.2 million contract. Frye and Cavaliers general manager David Griffin are familiar with one another from their days in the Phoenix Suns organization. Frye is a ten year NBA veteran. Frye has two more years remaining on his current contract for $7.8 million and $7.4 million. The trade also helps the Cavaliers save $10 million in luxury tax payments.