Anderson Varejao looks and plays like a bizarro Joakim Noah to me. That being said, you may have noticed (but probably not, because you have been so focused on LeBron James) that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been without Varejao since the beginning of the 2007-08 NBA season. His absence did not hurt the Cavs much last night as they knocked off the NBA’s best team, the Boston Celtics, in overtime.
Varejao is not on any NBA active roster because he is holding out from signing a deal that he believes would be a gross undervaluation of his services. He feels that the Cavs have played him like a fool and would rather continue training in Brazil instead of signing a low value contract with Cleveland. In fact, if Cleveland ends up signing Varejao, he hopes to be traded immediately [Varejao on Cleveland: ‘I don’t want to play there anymore’].
But Danny Ferry (GM for the Cavs) is not willing to give up on Varejao. He believes that there is still a chance to sign the center/forward and make him happy to stay in Cleveland. The problem is that Varejao has had just about enough of Ferry’s tactics to make him a Cav for at least another year.
Here are some things Ferry has done (or has refused to do), which has restricted Varejao’s immediate re-entry into the NBA:
- As a restricted free agent, Varejao has to sign with the Cavs if they match another team’s offer. Ferry has threatened to match prior high dollar offers, and Varejao has refused to sign.
- He has been unwilling to sign Varejao to a lower-paying one-year contract and instead wants to pay Varejao a “reasonable” long-term contract.
- He refuses to go to an arbitrator, even though he does not want to deal directly with Varejao’s agent, Dan Fegen. Fegen has even endorsed the involvement of an arbitrator.
- Ferry attempted to incude Varejao into signing with the Cavs in February by showing up to Varejao’s home unannounced and without giving any notice to Fegan. Varejao was having nothing to do with working around his agent in negotiations.
This is a nice example of a contract negotiation gone very bad. So bad that both sides are having extreme difficulties getting around their despise for one another. Hopefully the Cavs end up getting some value out of their former player and Varejao ends up happy and with some more money in his pocket. For anything to work out, though, Ferry needs to understand that Fegan must be included in all communication.