Cavs' Andersen tears ACL; season finished

Publish date:

Chris Andersen's season is over and perhaps more than that, so likely is his career.

The Cavaliers' backup center has suffered a "non-contract" torn ACL of the right knee and must undergo season-ending surgery, the team revealed Friday.

The man they call Birdman was signed to a one-year contract in July, and at 38 years old, it's hard to envision him ever making a return.

Andersen is 6-foot-10 and averaged 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in just less than 10 minutes a game. He came off the bench in 12 of the Cavs' first 24 games.

The Cavs will likely attempt to replace Andersen and add another big man, but it won't be easy. Since they're already over the salary cap, they'll have to pay a penalty tax on Andersen's $1.5 million deal.

They could potentially trade his contract, but that too would be a tricky proposition involving dollars, and for many other teams, not much sense.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggested, the Cavs may have an interest in forward Donatas Motiejunas, a free agent following a contract standoff with Houston. "[B]ut, again, a roster spot would first need to be cleared," the Plain Dealer wrote.

Other available center-types with experience include Keith Benson, Joel Anthony, Jeff Ayers, Chris Kaman, Justin Hamilton and Eric Moreland, a Cavs' training camp invite currently playing for the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League.

One name making the rounds on social media is that of former Milwaukee center Larry Sanders, whose contract was bought out in 2015 after he tested positive for marijuana on two occasions.

But any name currently mentioned as a potential Andersen replacement is pure speculation, as right now, none are viable options given the Cavs' tax situation.

As it stands, the Cavs' list of true big men is down to power forward Kevin Love, center Tristan Thompson and forward/center Channing Frye.

Andersen is in his 14th season and carries career averages of 5.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game.