As it looks right now Anderson Varejao is likely going from one NBA title contender to the championship favorites. The Golden State Warriors have emerged as the favorites to sign center Anderson Varejao once he clears waivers.
Marc Stein of ESPN is citing that once Anderson Varejao clears waivers at 5 p.m. Eastern, he will either sign with the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. Sources have him heavily leaning towards an offer he received from the Warriors.
Varejao, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was almost immediately waived after he was acquired by the Portland Trailblazers in a three-team trade before the NBA trade deadline. Teams began lining up to sign him once he was cut by Portland. One of those teams to line up and lobby for his services was the Golden State Warriors.
It should not come as a surprise that the Warriors have an interest in Anderson Varejao. The 33-year-old native of Brazil would supply some insurance in the frontcourt for the Warriors if a serious injury occurs. Both Golden State centers, Festus Ezeli (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Andrew Bogut (Achilles injury) are nursing ailments. Anderson Varajao adds some depth and experience for a team that usually plays small ball.
The Warriors would have to be patient with him as he gets into the playing shape for the running style they prefer to play. Varejao is more of a traditional NBA center. He primarily plays in the post and could possibly clog the lane for the Warriors’ players who weave in and out of the paint. With that being said, Varejao is a terrific rebounder and passer when he is healthy. He suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon early last season and has yet to show signs of a full recovery. Despite not showing signs of his usual self, Varejao would be a good pickup for the Golden State Warriors if they were to agree to a deal.
Teams who cannot match the Golden State Warriors with speed movement will try to beat them with size. As unconventional as their playing style is, the team knows that they will be tested in the half-court game.
This is why having a healthy Bogut is vital. The Warriors did not win the title with the flashy play of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green alone. Bogut was the inside presence who made opposing teams honest. The emergence of Festus Ezeli this season helped defensively. Without him, though, the interior defense can be vulnerable if there is a breakdown on the perimeter.
Varejao’s 6-foot-11-inch tall, 279 pound frame is large enough to keep teams from bombarding the pivot. Although he is not the shot-blocking threat most teams would covet, he alters shot because of his size and long arms. However, how he might mesh in the Golden State Warriors’ locker room will be something to watch out for.
How Anderson Varejao works with his potential new teammates is an underrated factor in deciding if his acquisition will be worthwhile. He has played his entire 11-plus year career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Leaving his family and a safe haven behind in Cleveland could lead to some homesickness, which might affect his play. That cannot be overlooked. Potential homesickness aside, signing Anderson Varejao would be a good move by the Golden State Warriors. He would give the Warriors some depth at the center position and add some much-needed insurance for a depleted frontcourt. His experience, rebounding and passing ability make him an ideal fit for the Golden State Warriors.
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