Anderson Varejao, the former Cleveland Cavaliers center, has signed with the Golden State Warriors on a veteran’s minimum contract.
The veteran cleared waivers Sunday before signing with the defending NBA champions for the remainder of the season, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. The Warriors and the Spurs, the NBA’s best two teams, were both in the running for Varejao – who spent close to 12 seasons in Cleveland.
After the Cavaliers traded Varejao to Portland, the Trailblazers promptly agreed to waive him despite the two years and nearly $14 million in guaranteed money left on his contract after this season. Varejao’s signing has come at a timely juncture for the Warriors, who have lost centers Festus Ezeli (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Andrew Bogut (Achilles) to injuries.
The Warriors were forced to release Jason Thompson to create a roster spot for Varejao. Coach Steve Kerr welcomed the move: “Fortunately, he’s (Varjao) a guy who has a natural instinct for the game. We play a lot of freestyle offense anyway, hit the big guy and start running our cuts. That’s what he’s best at.”
Regardless of the experience that Varejao brings, he will take time to adjust to the Warriors’ system. “He’s going to have to learn the sets that we do run, and we’ll put him through a practice (Tuesday) and give him a video playbook and help him along. Coaches will get with him and help him through stuff,” added Kerr.
Also, don’t forget that Varejao can likely divulge secrets about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of the likely NBA Finals rematch in June. Varejao has been LeBron’s longest standing and favorite teammate. Simply put, if anyone knows LeBron’s tendencies and thought process, it’s the Brazilian. Therefore, there could be more than meets the eye with regards to this Warriors acquisition.
Anderson Varejao has already joined the roster, even though he didn’t play against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.