Ahead of Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers newest signee, center Andrew Bogut, who was dealing with visa issues was expected to make his debut at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday. After dealing with the issues, he arrived to meet his team and was ready to suit up and play with his new teammates, although he had no practice time with the wine and gold prior to the game. Just 58 seconds into his debut, Bogut went down with a left leg injury, an injury that turned out to be a fractured left tibia, the team announced Monday night.
With the injury, the Cavs will most likely waive Bogut to open up a roster spot for the team to add another player. The big man was a dream scenario for the Cavs. He would have allowed head coach Tyronn Lue to rest center Tristan Thompson more than usual, along with being able to protect the rim and set marvelous screens on the offensive side of the ball. But, now the Cavs are once again in search of a backup big man. So, who are the options now? Unfortunately, after the waiver wire has been closely picked through following the trade deadline, the candidates to replace Bogut are few and far between. Two options that seem to stick out are Larry Sanders and Anderson Varejao.
Sanders, who worked out with the wine and gold in Cleveland on February 22, has been out of the NBA since 2015 while dealing with an addiction to drugs along with anxiety and depression. During his best years, he was one of the best centers in the league. In his last season in the NBA in 2014-15, he the 28-year-old averaged 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, one steal, and one block in 21.7 minutes per game. In his brief five-year career, Sanders averaged 6.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game. At 6-foot-11, the 235-pounder would add a big-bodied center to the lineup to not only clog the paint defensively, but also relieve some of the burden off of Thompson. Recently reported, however, are legal issues that plagued the big man while he was away from the game. That he has yet to be picked up by any team to this point is fairly telling.
Once a fan favorite for 12 years while he was with the Cavs from when he came to the NBA prior to the 2004-05 season until he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team deal just over a year ago (that landed Channing Frye with the Cavs), eventually waived, and then signed with the Golden State Warriors for the rest of 2015-16 campaign. During his 14-year career, Varejao has been counted on to bring energy, rebounding, and rim protection to whatever team he was on. But, since being traded away from Cleveland, Varejao hasn’t played much. In one-and-a-half seasons with the Warriors, he has averaged just 7.7 minutes per game and has been a mainstay at the end of the Warriors bench.
The team, to this point, has offered little in the way of information regarding the 15th spot. For now, it will be Andrew Bogut unless David Griffin and team can find yet another way to turn these situations into more favorable outcomes.