On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and veteran center Anderson Varejao were reportedly close to a three-year, $30 million extension. Now, the deal is done, the team announced in a press release from Cavs GM David Griffin on Friday afternoon:
“Anderson represents how this franchise wants to approach the game of basketball, both on the court and off,” said Griffin. “He has been a key part of our foundation for years and we are very happy that he will continue to be part of our Cavs family as we work towards our goals at the highest level. Andy is, and has been, a tireless worker, an incredible teammate and a great competitor that plays with a rare combination of energy and intensity that makes him truly special.”
Varejao is the longest-tenured Cavalier and the only holdover from LeBron James’ first tenure in Cleveland. The 32-year-old Brazilian big man has long been a favorite teammate of James. He’s still very productive when healthy, but has missed time with various injuries the past four years. He had 10 points and four rebounds in 27 games on Thursday night in the Cavs’ season-opening loss to the New York Knicks.
Varejao is a close friend of James, and the move to re-sign him now before he hits free agency next summer likely comes from wanting to appease LeBron. If Varejao is healthy, $10 million a year is a terrific value. But that’s far from a given these days.