The Cleveland Cavaliers announced Wednesday that center Anderson Varejao will undergo surgery on his injured right knee and will be out 6-8 weeks, per multiple sources:
Cavs announce Anderson Varejao will need surgery on his knee and be out 6-8 weeks.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 9, 2013
Varejao has missed the Cavaliers last 11 games and was rumored to be on the trading block, but with his injury the Cavaliers most likely won’t be able to find a taker. Varejao was in the midst of a career year and was averaging 14.1 points per games and a NBA-best 14.4 rebounds per game before injuring his knee Dec. 18 against the Toronto Raptors.
Varejao, 30, has two years and $18.9 million remaining on his contract with a team option of $9.8 mil for the second season, making him an attractive trade asset for the Cavaliers this summer despite his knee injury.
Varejao’s prowess as a rebounder and post defender could offer value for a number of NBA contenders looking for help in their frontcourt, particularly the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat. The Cavaliers are rebuilding and developing younger, less expensive players and have promising big men Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller playing well in Varejao’s absence, thus making trading Varejao this summer more a realistic possibility than ever.
The Cavaliers would be well-served to sell low for Varejao this summer at this point. While the energetic center does still have value as a trade asset, he will be over 30 next season and coming off of knee surgery. The Cavaliers already have a solid nucleus of young players in Kyrie Irving, Thompson and Dion Waiters to build around. Shedding Varejao’s salary for market value would be their best move going forward.