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Trevor Ariza may be the Cavaliers' backup plan if LeBron James stays in Miami

If the Cavaliers can't convince LeBron to return home, they are expected to turn their sights to Ariza, according to a report.

Andy Lyons

Earlier today, we talked about Larry Hughes, a key Wizards free agent that was lost to the Cavaliers after a bidding war. Could history repeat itself with Trevor Ariza?

As you know, the Cavaliers are chasing after LeBron James. Depending on who you believe, they may be in the lead for him or completely out of the picture. If it turns out that LeBron stays, though, the Cavaliers have a lot of leftover cap space and may be inclined to spend it on Ariza, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

"If they don't [land LeBron], they're looking at a player like Trevor Ariza. They want to get in the playoffs next year in Cleveland,"Wojnarowski said during his regular 11 p.m. appearance on FOX Sports 1. "Their plan B is to still have a lot of cap space [and] get a guy who's a difference maker and help them get in the postseason."

Why Ariza? As Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beach-Journal notes, he's the only reasonable choice. Utah's Gordon Hayward visited Cleveland last week, but most expect the Jazz to match any contract offer. The same is true of Detroit's Greg Monroe and Houston's Chandler Parsons. The Cavaliers had "mild interest" in Marcin Gortat, per Lloyd, and had more than minor interest in Channing Frye, but both are off the market. Thus, if Cleveland wants to make the playoffs, they "might be left with little choice" but to pay Ariza, Lloyd writes.

It'd be an interesting fit depending on how you feel about Dion Waiters. The Cavaliers have been referring to Andrew Wiggins as a shooting guard, so Ariza could slot in at the 3 with Waiters coming off the bench. Cleveland already lost C.J. Miles and Ariza is better than Miles, though perhaps not twice as good, which could be the difference in their salaries.

Regardless, it sounds like a very similar situation to '05. Just as they did then, the Cavaliers could be desperate if LeBron stays in Miami and get into a bidding war with a backup choice.

(Thanks to Eric Buenning for transcribing Woj, since I couldn't switch to Fox Sports 1 in time)