Atlanta Hawks: Any interest in Anderson Varejao?

Oct 15, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao (17) rebounds in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao (17) rebounds in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Atlanta Hawks needing help in frontcourt depth and filling out the 15-man roster, what about former Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao?

The 2016 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, with the Atlanta Hawks making a few minor moves to their roster in a three-team trade with the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz, sending Shelvin Mack to Salt Lake City and Justin Holiday to the Windy City with former Hawk Kirk Hinrich coming back Atlanta’s way.

While this move should allow both Mack and Holiday more playing time than they were getting in Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks now have only 13 men that can play on their active roster. The trade made Atlanta one player short of the 15-man maximum and backup center Tiago Splitter opting to undergo season-ending hip surgery, this leaves head coach Mike Budenholzer and general manager Wes Wilcox to consider somethings with regard to their roster.

Will the Atlanta Hawks add to their depleted frontcourt through signing a D-League player or maybe go after a recently waived player. One guy to keep an eye on is former backup center for the Cleveland Cavaliers Anderson Varejao. Would it make any sense to bring Wild Thing/Sideshow Bob to the ATL?

Varejao isn’t a starting center anymore, but could help lessen the burden felt by Splitter’s surgery. While third-year player Mike Muscala and rookie Walter Tavares will play more minutes in Splitter’s absence, bringing in a veteran and a great teammate like Anderson Varejao could aid in the Atlanta Hawks’ playoff run this spring.

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One huge road block for the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference is obviously the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao’s only employer to date in his 12-year NBA career. Varejao was the cap casualty in the Cavaliers’ trade for the Orlando Magic’s Channing Frye.

Cleveland felt the need to upgrade their perimeter shooting bigs. Orlando freed up cap space by shipping Frye to the shores of Lake Erie. Varejao temporarily was going to the Portland Trail Blazers, but that was only because his contract would allow the Blazers’ to hit the Salary Cap Floor to avoid a penalty.

For the Atlanta Hawks, Varejao could act as a mentor for the many young big men on the Atlanta Hawks’ roster as a deep rotational player, similar to what Elton Brand did for the Hawks the previous two seasons.

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Varejao also knows the Cavaliers organization better than probably any player in the NBA and could give the Hawks some valued insight into how to beat the top-seeded Cavaliers in probably the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Atlanta seems likely bound to either the No. 3, No. 4, or No. 5 seed in the East. Getting either of the latter two seeds and advancing would mean that the Atlanta Hawks would play the Cleveland Cavaliers. The three-seed would mean that Cleveland would come in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the fantastic Toronto Raptors coming in round two.

Currently, the Atlanta Hawks are 23rd in the NBA in payroll, so they probably could take on Varejao at a veteran minimum contract with the Portland Trail Blazers picking up the bulk of Anderson Varejao’s Cleveland Cavaliers contract to stay above the NBA Salary Cap Floor.

With the Atlanta Hawks needing depth in their frontcourt and could conceivably fill their 15th roster spot in the next few days, it at least makes some since to get a player like Anderson Varejao to help alleviate the void felt by Splitter’s surgery.

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Varejao has a great career offensive rating at 114 and even more impressive defensively at 100. Though he was only averaging 10.0 minutes per game on the loaded frontcourt of the Cleveland Cavaliers, expect the Atlanta Hawks to stand as one of the many teams interested in signing the new free agent backup center Anderson Varejao.