A backup center exits, a backup center enters. And so the world turns for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the off-season.
Earlier this week the Cavaliers traded Sasha Kaun and cash to Philadelphia, clearing a roster spot for a guy who they felt like could contribute more than Kaun did. That man is Chris Andersen. On the bright side for Sasha, he got himself an NBA Championship ring and a mention in Iman Shumpert's song "Name Drop" - likely the only time he will be shouted out in a rap song, but you never know.
The Sixers are expected to waive Kaun.
The signing of the Birdman, Chris Andersen, has a two-pronged effect for the Cavaliers. First, it marks another proven body on what is becoming a roster full of proven veterans. Birdman is 38, having played 14 seasons in the NBA and won himself a title as a contributor for Miami's 2nd title in the LeBron area. Presumably there was a connection between LeBron and Andersen, as a sour relationship between the two would be enough for the Cavaliers to leave the backup center position open.
Andersen lost playing time last season in Miami, averaging just 5 minutes per game before being shipped off to Memphis, where he averaged 18 minutes over the final 20 games of the regular season. He has been an above-average defender for over a decade and will fit in with the Cavaliers' second unit behind the presumed starting front-court of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Many people are expecting LeBron James to play more power forward as he ages, meaning that backup big men are going to see fewer minutes with the Cavaliers than they may have before, but Andersen should still get minutes that Timofey Mozgov was getting last year.
Considering that Mozgov is now getting $16m per year, I think the Cavs may have made the right choice to lock up Andersen for the veteran's minimum.
The final pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together for this off-season, although LeBron and JR Smith each remain unsigned. Rumors have been circulating for the past week that JR is on the verge of signing and has no interest in going elsewhere, and LeBron James will re-sign when he's good and ready.