The Cleveland Cavaliers today announced that Anderson Varejao has torn a ligament in his ankle and will miss the rest of the season. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer Varejao will undergo surgery to repair the ligament.
Which begs the question:
Can the fates hate this franchise more? They suffer through all of their history, get LeBron James, suffer playoff exit after playoff exit including a Finals loss and a bizarre upset at the hands of the Magic, then lose the biggest basketball star in state history on national television. And now this.
“How can this possibly be that bad?” you mask ask. After all, Varejao is averaging 9 whole points a game this year, and his rebounding numbers aren’t anything stellar. He’s a fine defender and can finish around the rim, but is this really that bad of an event?
Yeah, it kind of is.
Varejao wasn’t just the heart and soul of the team, nor its most consistent player under 30. He wasn’t just their leading rebounder and leader in blocks. He was also their most attractive trade asset. J.J. Hickson has gone in the tank since Byron Scott came on, Antawn Jamison’s contract remains an albatross, Mo Williams is fraught with “meh”-ness, and Ramon Sessions still doesn’t light anyone’s candle. Varejao, though, is a veteran big you can rely on, with a big contract (which means you can send assets back). He fills a need for every contending team, and can be packaged with the James trade exception. Now that option is out.
Varejao himself has had a bad year, breaking his face (yes, breaking his face) and having to wear a mask during the year, and being generally banged up as the Cavaliers have sunk from decent to bad to outright horrible. Now he’s got pain, surgery, more pain, and an uncertain future in Cleveland to look forward to without the hope of redemption.
And the hits just keep on coming.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.