Free agent Anderson Varejao did not want to leave Cleveland but may end up in the best situation of his career as he has drawn interest from several teams, including the top-three in the Western Conference.
Varejao had spent his entire 12-year career in Cleveland before a whirlwind couple of days that could see him land with his third team in a matter of days. Varejao was traded by the Cavs on Thursday to the Portland Trail Blazers prior to the trade deadline and was almost immediately waived by the Blazers.
Portland had no interest in Vareajo, but got involved in the three-team trade that ultimately landed Channing Frye in Cleveland as a way to secure another asset, which turned out to be the Cavs’ 2018 first round selection that is top-10 protected. According to TheInquisitr, Varejao Varejao is owed $9.7 million this year, $9.3 million in 2016-17, and a partially guaranteed $4.5 million in 2017-18. He also had a 5 percent trade kicker that will netted him an additional $626,825.
Varejao thanked Cleveland Cavs’ fans in a Facebook post on Friday.
“During the last 12 years, I had the honour of representing the city of Cleveland, the relief of the Cavaliers, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Came over from Spain with only 21 years, it was a difficult transition for me, but by the time I wore the shirt of the cavs and stepped on Quadra, the feeling was to be home.”
“There were times when we played well, in other we fought together. We have contended playoff and also titles. In the last 12 seasons, have been ups and downs, but it didn’t matter the outcome, because one thing has never changed… The unconditional support of all of you, the fans.”
“If you were watching the TV, listening on the radio or screaming at the top of his lungs, we felt that energy and support. The fans of the Cleveland are simply the best.”
“There’s nothing better than walking the streets in a cold day and listening to the fans screaming your name, power to stop and talk with them. There’s nothing like looking at the arena and see more than 20 thousand people wearing wigs to match your hair… That is something that I will take for the rest of my life, I’ll never forget it.”
“As well as the dollar occupies a very special place in my heart, Cleveland now is part of me. I consider each and every one of the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the family – owners, members of the office, coaches that I’ve had over the years, companions, each of the staff… Thank you.”
“The City of Cleveland is really a special place.”
“I saw players and coaches coming and going, and for everything that I saw, I always knew that Cleveland was where I wanted to retire. But life doesn’t always work the way we want. And, at the end of the day, when they say ‘this is business’, It is unfortunately true.”
“So, that being so, I say goodbye. But, most importantly, I say thank you. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for coming every night, we were winning or losing. And thank you for giving me the best 12 years of my life.”
“Home is where the heart is. And my heart will always be in Cleveland.”
ESPN is reporting that Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Dallas are all gauging Varejao’s interest in joining them when he clears waivers on Sunday. The Los Angeles Clippers are also rumored to be to intrigued in Varejao.
Update: Varejao signs with the Warriors for the league minimum. Golden State waived veteran forward-center Jason Thompson to make room on the 15-man roster. Varejao was averaging career lows in points (2.6), rebounds (2.9), blocked shots (0.2) and minutes (10) for Cleveland before being sent to Portland.
Golden State would have to release a player if the Warriors were to indeed able to sign the veteran power forward as they currently have 15-players under contract. The Warriors are in the market for another front court player as reserve center Festus Ezeli is out with a knee injury but may be able to return by the final week of the regular season.
Ezeli was having a career year before getting injured, producing 7.5 points and grabbing 5.9 rebounds in 40 games while averaging near 18 minutes per contest. With Ezeli out, Marreese Speights along with Jason Thompson and rookie Kevon Looney are likely to see increased minutes.
San Antonio is just three games behind the Warriors and has the top scoring defense in the league, allowing 92.4 points a game. The Spurs have 15 players on the roster but are a little thin in the frontcourt and Gregg Popovich generally likes giving Tim Duncan some time off – i.e. Varejao would fit nicely with the Spurs. Boban Marjanovic or Matt Bonner would be candidates to be waived if San Antonio signs the 6-foot-11 center/power forward.
Oklahoma City has an open roster space and could use some frontcourt help as the Thunder only use Enes Kantner, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison in the rotation on a regular basis. Dallas has 15 players on the roster but 24-year old Dwight Powell is the Mavs top frontcourt option off the bench while the Clippers only have 14 players and Blake Griffin is out until the end of March as he also has the team’s imposed four-game suspension to serve. The Mavs are believed to be the front runner for former Boston Celtic David Lee, who had his contract bought out yesterday.
Whatever team Varejao ultimately signs with he will likely not see a lot of action. However, he will bring leadership, professionalism, high energy as well as great defense and rebounding to the team.
[Photo by Tony Dejak/Associated Press]