Before you try to say how could the Cavaliers pay so much for Varejao, I first have to ask you this: Is it even possible to quantify the value of a USA Today’s 2009 All-Rambis Team performer? Apparently such an award exists, but I hope for the sake of professionalism that Dan Fegan didn’t bring this up as a negotiating chip. Whether he did or didn’t, such discussions ended with the Cavaliers extending an offer to Anderson Varejao, according to Brian Windhorst , of six-years, $50 million - essentially.
Now in a non-Bird Rights scenario, I would say combine that money with the MLE, and go get somebody better…but you can’t do that. In the Cavs / Anderson Varejao situation -circa 2009 – the Cavaliers could either have signed Andy for whatever amount of money he commanded, or simply lost a player. They were in no position to lose a big, and had to make this deal, no matter how much some people want to scratch their heads about it.
Varejao isn’t a great player, but even his critics would have to admit that he is a solid guy to have on your squad. He’s fiery, he’ll rebound, he’ll play defense, take charges, and make the ‘wide open dunk shot.’ Is that worth $50 mil? You would think not, but apparently it is. However, I don’t really care about the money because its not mine; the Cavaliers do need ‘a Varejao’ next season, and I’m glad they kept him.
Varejao’s stats last season - (8.6) ppg, (7.2) rpg, (1) apg, (.54) fg% – are what they are: indicative of a better than serviceable 6’11″ 210 pounder, and no more. But there is one thing that the numbers don’t define: Varejao is loved in the locker room. He keeps it fun, keeps guys laughing, and they like playing with him. The Cavaliers had maybe the best locker room in the NBA last season, and there is no denying the fact that Andy had a major hand in that.
Beyond all that, I’m happy to see him stay because he afforded me my most widely read blog post of all-time. When I was sent, and posted, the picture above on the blog I used to call home, I never imagined that every media outlet in America would link to it – but they did. I didn’t post that picture for that reason though, I posted it at the time because I thought it was funny. I thought it was indicative of the environment with which the Cavaliers operated, and I thought it was a sign that this team was something special. I think they still are, and signing Varejao is undoubtedly a step towards becoming even more special next season.