The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t stopping in their attempt to build a team with no weaknesses and with plenty of depth, setting their sights on Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets and Kosta Koufos of the Memphis Grizzlies to be their backup centers.
Getting them and wanting them are two very different things. Mozgov had a solid season last year for the Nuggets, averaging 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Even if the Nuggets plan on making JaVale McGee their starting center, his status is unclear due to missing most of last season with a leg injury, making Mozgov, who has one more year before a team option for the 2015-2016 is to be decided upon, a lot more valuable.
Koufos is in the same boat. Marc Gasol is the undisputed starting center for the Grizzlies, but last season showed how badly Memphis need a backup to help in the paint. Koufos averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Not exactly a star, but a reliable backup who has one more season on his contract worth $3 million.
Another question is what the Cavaliers have to offer.When you move the focus away from LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, there aren’t any players the Cavs would like to give away that they don’t need anyhow. Once Shawn Marion signs they’ll have 17 players under contract, and if Ray Allen signs it’ll be up to 18. This means trimming down the roster by three players.
One option is using John Lucas III and Erik Muprhy, both on non-guaranteed contracts, but make it possible to bring back a contract worth $3.72 million. The Cavaliers can wait a bit longer for the trade restrictions on rookie Dwight Powell and Malcolm Thomas to be lifted, giving them even more flexibility and the ability to bring in someone with a salary of $5.9 million.
It’s quite clear who starts for the Cavaliers and who the main players off the bench are going to be. Anderson Varejao hasn’t had an injury free season since 2009-2010. The Cavaliers do have the luxury of playing some small ball thanks to Kevin Love, but getting someone better than Brendan Haywood would be a good idea for a potential championship team.