Game vs. POR wasn’t memorable for Cavs, but was for Anderson Varejao

Big Anderson Varejao (right) is congratulated after a game by his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Big Anderson Varejao (right) is congratulated after a game by his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Anderson Varejao back in his glory days for the Cleveland Cavaliers, mostly during LeBron James’ first stint with the Wine and Gold.

Recently, though, with the Cavs so banged up to close the season here, Varejao was signed to a 10-day deal via the league’s hardship exception. And he will reportedly be seemingly signed to a second 10-day via hardship exception continuation from there, too.

This is sort of a positive, if you will, for the ending batch of games to close out the season for Cavaliers fans. Varejao was a key defensive and energy big for the Cavs in much of his tenure with them, and his hustling style gave the team juice.

And although he would eventually be traded to the Portland Trail Blazers near the 2016 deadline formally via three-team deal, who then waived and stretched him, the Cavs and Varejao had a longstanding relationship over essentially 12 seasons. I’m not going to rehash on the Varejao stint with the Golden State Warriors here, either, frankly, as he’s always been mostly known as a Cavalier.

Andy is sixth in Cavs history in rebounds, and eighth in steals and blocks, and in his 12 seasons with Cleveland, had 7.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per outing. Injuries particularly later into Varejao’s tenure with the Cavaliers did limit him near the end, but he clearly made his presence felt with the Wine and Gold in his time with them, as we know.

Now, looking at Varejao/the club currently, I’m not expecting much from the now-38-year-old in this end-of-career stint for him with Cleveland.

He had seven minutes of run in Wednesday’s game, basically to close out the outing against Portland, although it was in a blowout L, and had one point, but did have a nice assist and six rebounds and a block.

The especially banged up Cavs were again blown out by Portland, and a run in the third quarter by Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic and the Blazers blew it open and Cleveland was perhaps somewhat fatigued on the second leg of a back-to-back, albeit it was a key moment for Varejao to get in.

Wednesday’s game versus Portland wasn’t memorable for the Cavs, but it was for Varejao.

As was touched on, this game against Portland, when the Cavaliers were blown out in the second half and ultimately the game, was a forgettable one. Dean Wade, for instance, was a bright spot, and had 16 points off the bench, and went three-of-four from three.

It was nice to see Isaiah Hartenstein back in there, too, after a five-game absence because of a concussion.

That said, while it was a game where the Cavaliers were again so banged up and had their issues, it was a cool moment for Varejao to get in there near the end. And it was also really cool to see this reception by the fan base/guys such as Jarrett Allen, when Andy checked into the game.

As Bally Sports Cleveland/Ohio noted, that was the first game Anderson’s played with the Cavaliers since February of 2016, and he last played in 2019 in his second season with his then-Brazilian club, Flamengo. He won a championship with them then, and he played for his native country in Brazil in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Granted, per a report from Chris Fedor of Varejao did have some NBA clubs since that point reach out to him about a possible training camp/preseason deal where he could have a shot at making a roster. And Fedor’s report touched on how Varejao did have opportunities to play overseas, but in regards to both possibilities, Varejao decided to stay home with his wife, who was then pregnant at the time.

In this first appearance for Varejao of this end-of-career run, though, it was a really awesome moment for him, as it was the first time his daughter has seen him play and it was unforgettable to him because of that, as Fedor highlighted (subscription required). So that’s a positive, and it’s at least very cool as a Cavs fan to have seen Larry Nance Jr. rock a Varejao wig postgame.

So at least for Varejao, this was a special moment clearly for him/his family, and with what he provided for this Cavs team in his burn with them, and with him being so appreciative of the team and the fan base, the first burn back for him was neat.

And with three more home games for the Cavaliers to come the rest of the way, the occasional Varejao spurts of run is something to look forward to, I would think.

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I’m not expecting anything big from him, to reiterate, but the end-of-career run with the Wine and Gold for him is again, a cool sendoff.