Chris Andersen has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Will he be a reliable option in the rotation?
Things might have gotten a little more interesting for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In order to make space, Cleveland traded away seldom-used big man Sasha Kaun and cash considerations to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the draft rights of Chukwudiebere Maduabum. The 76ers plan to waive Kaun.
The Cavaliers also bought some of Philadelphia’s cap space in the form of a trade exception, which is another brilliant move by general manager David Griffin. The exception is for $1.3 million, which was the salary guaranteed to Kaun, but was mitigated by the salary added by the Cavaliers.
Andersen will be reunited with his former teammate and friend LeBron James after spending two years together with the Miami Heat. Last season, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade in exchange for point guard Brian Roberts.
The Birdman is currently 38 years old and has seen his minutes diminish drastically compared to his first years with the Heat. I don’t know how much he can bring to this championship team, but he will be great for depth purposes and toughness. The Cavaliers lacked the “enforcer” that most top teams have last season.
Kendrick Perkins was used in that role in 2015, but he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans the following year. Some fans that aren’t familiar with Andersen might think at only 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, that he isn’t much for other teams to worry about, but he is known not take much flak from opposing players.
Birdman is best on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a good perimeter defender, and is relentless as it pertains to getting blocks in the paint. But the thing that Andersen has always been good at in his 14-year career is his ability to get offensive putbacks.
He doesn’t get as much air as he once did, but he can still get that big second chance basket, and use his length to crash the offensive board.
But the most surprising aspect he’s added to his game is a midrange jumper. He’s even shooting from three-point range! I’ve always liked to call this being “Father Timed.” What I mean by this is that when most big men who base their game strictly around the paint suddenly turn into a face-up forward/center, it shows how their age has caught up to them.
They don’t want to deal with the aggressiveness and physicality in the paint anymore, so they take a more finesse approach to their game. If Andersen becomes consistent with the outside shot, it will just be another versatile threat the Cavaliers have on the team.
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With Timofey Mozgov signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, and now the trade of Kaun, the Cavaliers are very thin at center. If the season were to start tomorrow, Andersen would be the backup to Tristan Thompson. Kevin Love and Channing Frye are capable of playing in the middle, but it’s not their strongest position. They are better suited at the elbow and on the perimeter.
I would have preferred they signed Jordan HIll along with Andersen, but Hill just recently signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. JaVale McGee is another option the Cavaliers might consider, but it’s difficult to know which version of McGee any team will get on a nightly basis.
I don’t believe that Cleveland will just go into the season with two centers. They will have to sign at least one more to have true depth at the position. While the Birdman might not have much left, he is a solid addition to the team, and will surely bring energy and entertainment to Cavaliers fans.