CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers found a coveted wing shooter before the trading deadline. To get him, though, they had to say goodbye to one of their most popular players.
Adding another scoring threat for star LeBron James, the Cavaliers acquired forward Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic on Thursday in exchange for center Anderson Varejao, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The Cavs, who begin the season's unofficial second half with the best record in the Eastern Conference, will send Varejao to Portland in the trade to acquire Frye, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams are awaiting league approval.
The always hustling Varejao has been a fan favorite — and one of James' most beloved teammates — for 12 seasons with the Cavaliers, who have phased him out of their rotation. He's averaging just 2.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 10 minutes per game.
Frye isn't much of an upgrade as he's averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Magic. However, the 6-foot-11 Frye does have decent range and is shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has some background with Frye as the two worked together in Phoenix. The 32-year-old Frye had his best seasons with the Suns, averaging career-bests of 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 2010-11.
Varejao, from Brazil, has had injury problems in recent years. He's owed $9.7 million this season and is set to make $9.3 million in 2016-17.
Griffin was willing accept any backlash in dealing Varejao in order to get the Cavs in better position to chase an NBA title after coming up short in 2015. Griffin fired coach David Blatt earlier this season despite the team's success and he's trying to find more help for James.
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.