Report: Boston and Cleveland talking three-team trade with Anderson Varejao out

ESPN reports Cleveland Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao tore his Achilles and is probably done for the year.

Why does this matter for Boston? Well, Brian Windhorst says Cleveland is now looking to make a trade to replace the Brazilian.

Sources say the Cavs, in recent days, have been in contact with the Boston Celtics about working as a facilitator in three-team trade scenarios. The Celtics, blessed with frontcourt depth in the wake of their recent acquisition of Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal, have been aggressive recently in their attempts to acquire future draft picks.

The Cavs cannot trade their own 2015 first-round pick because they already sent their 2016 pick to the Celtics in a previous deal. But they do own a protected Memphis first-rounder that they could trade.

What's this? Another possible first-round pick to be had? Of course Danny Ainge would love to jump all over that. Windhorst calls Boston a "facilitator" in any potential deal, just as they were when they snagged a first, Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton to help Cleveland clear cap space to sign LeBron James.

While Boston has plenty of bigs, they don't really have centers to deal. Zeller can't be sent back to Cleveland this year, due to league trading rules, and Wright can only be traded by himself until February. Hence, why they'd be a third team in a trade. Boston's name should pop up in plenty of trade rumors over the next couple months, as they look to thin out a crowded roster and get more future assets for the rebuild.

That Memphis pick Windhorst mentions has some serious protections on it. From Basketball Insiders:

Receives Memphis’ 2015 first-round pick (top-5 protected, 15-30 protected in 2015-16, top-5 protected in 2017-18, unprotected in 2019) via the Jon Leuer trade on 1/22/13.

So, essentially, if Memphis makes the playoffs this season and next, which they absolutely should, the pick will turn into a 2017 first. That's a bit of a ways out, but it would set Boston up to have two first-round picks in 2015, four in 2016, two in 2017 (with the ability to swap with the Brooklyn Nets) and two in 2018. Holy picks.

Windhorst mentions the Denver Nuggets and the Memphis Grizzlies as teams Cleveland will try to get a center from. Denver is currently below .500, so they are likely looking for future assets to help them get back into the playoffs down the road. Memphis is currently the third best team in the West and could be looking for talent right now to keep them in title contention.

Here's one proposal I've come up with:

Boston receives Tayshaun Prince and a second-round pick from Memphis and Brendan Haywood and that protected first-round pick from Cleveland.

Memphis receives Jeff Green from Boston.

Cleveland receives Kosta Koufos from Memphis.

For Boston, Prince's $7.7 million contract is expiring and Haywood's $10.5 million salary next season isn't guaranteed. Haywood would be a serious chip to deal this summer. Think Keith Bogans, but with twice the value. Boston gets more picks, including a first, for Green.

Memphis gets an upgrade offensively at the small forward spot. Yes, John Hollinger, who works in the front office for the Grizzlies, isn't Green's biggest fan. But Green is having a career year and will likely opt out of his contract this summer. Hollinger can stomach a Green rental if it makes an already good team better this season.

Cleveland gets its Varejao replacement.

Is it perfect? No, but the trade would add even more weapons to that stocked war chest Ainge has at his disposal. We're in the thick of trade season and Boston is looking to deal. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Update: Kevin Pelton at ESPN brings up Cleveland's trade exception they got for sending out Bogans. So they could deal that exception and the Memphis pick to Boston for Wright if they wanted.

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