Amidst the high-profile injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, it’s easy to forget that the Cavaliers have also been without veteran big man Anderson Varejao for most of the year. Varejao suffered a torn left Achilles in December and has been out ever since. Chatter has persisted that he might return during the Finals, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein shot that down yet again on Sunday:
It would help the Cavs on the glass and in the paint to get Varejao back, but it probably wouldn’t change the outcome of the series much. The loss of Irving means Cleveland has no go-to scoring options outside of LeBron James, and that’s too big a deficit to overcome. Varejao doesn’t change that. Given that he just signed a three-year, $30 million extension in October, it’s worth taking a long-term approach with him, rather than playing him in a Finals series they aren’t going to win anyway.
There was a report the Cavaliers could activate Anderson Varejao – who tore his Achilles in December – in the NBA Finals if necessary.
Not even if Timofey Mozgov or Tristan Thompson gets hurt.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao will not play in the 2015 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, a team official told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Friday.
Varejao is still recovering from a left Achilles tear he suffered in December. At this juncture, he hasn’t even been cleared to run.
If they needed to rely on a hobbled Varejao against the Warriors, the Cavaliers would have been in deep trouble, anyway.
The Cavaliers are down a couple big men, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao.
That leaves Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov starting with little-used Kendrick Perkins and Brendan Haywood as the only healthy natural power forwards or centers in reserve. LeBron James and Shawn Marion can play down, and even James Jones, Mike Miller and Iman Shumpert can in funky lineups.
But Cleveland doesn’t want to be forced into going small too often.
What happens if Thompson or Mozgov gets hurt?
Varejao was slated to miss the entire season with an Achilles tear. If the Cavs need him, they’re probably in trouble.
But once they’re in trouble, activating Varejao very well could become the best way to handle it.