Cavs: Being around Anderson Varejao is big for youngsters

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) /

We shouldn’t be expecting much from Anderson Varejao in this end-of-career stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He’s currently amid a 10-day deal with Cleveland as a farewell of sorts via the league’s hardship exception with the Cavs so banged up, and they’ll reportedly apply for a continuation so he can get a second one, for context.

As was hit on though, we shouldn’t anticipate Varejao doing much in occasional run for him here and there/in seemingly garbage time, for example.

In his two games active with Cleveland during this stint, he’s had one point in 12 minutes in two games, and is zero-for-six so far from the field. He’s had an assist in each of those outings, but most notably against the Portland Trail Blazers, did have six rebounds and a block in that blowout L.

Albeit to be fair, the dude hasn’t played professionally since 2019, in his second season then with Brazilian club, Flamengo, a squad he did win a championship then with. Varejao did reportedly have NBA teams interested in him via training camp/preseason deal since then, per Chris Fedor of and there was interest overseas for him.

Varejao instead wanted to stay home with his wife, who was then pregnant with their daughter at the time, though.

Prior to that Brazilian league stint, Varejao was last active in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors in 2017. But we’re not going to rehash how Varejao’s tenure with the Cavs ended regarding him being dealt to Portland/him eventually signing with Golden State shortly after Portland waived him near the 2016 deadline.

Looking past that, Varejao played his guts out for Cleveland, and 11-plus seasons with the Cavaliers, he was an impact defensive and energy big.

Varejao had 7.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing in his career with the Cavs, and although later on in his tenure with Cleveland he had injury struggles, he is still sixth in Cavaliers history in rebounds and eighth in steals and blocks.

His play and hustling style did make quite a difference for Cleveland, particularly in the earlier LeBron James days with the Wine and Gold. And his look and all-out/max effort led to him being a fan favorite, and Cavs fans have affectionately referred to him as “Wild Thing” for those efforts.

In any case, while we shouldn’t be looking for anything to pop from Andy in this end-of-career stint to close out this season, his presence should have a positive effect on young Cavs, and I’m sure has.

Being around Varejao is big for young Cavs.

Varejao ended up carving out a really nice career with the Cavs, and always was an exemplary teammate, and to me, for a Cavaliers squad that is so young, by and large, being around Andy has to be an impactful experience for youngsters.

In that realm, the likes of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens and even two-way guys Brodric Thomas and Jeremiah Martin, come to mind. Diddo for Cedi Osman and Larry Nance Jr., who even greeted Varejao after the Portland game with a Varejao wig on, as was seen here.

Honestly, while we won’t see Varejao, who is 38, in there for considerable stretches/spurts even, at least likely won’t, in upcoming games, young Cavs especially, being around Varejao, who had a ton of success with Cleveland, is big from a culture standpoint.

Varejao was a player that was with the Cavaliers for a long tenure, and was an integral part of them building into a winner around LeBron, particularly during that first stint with them.

He was a part of a number of postseason runs with the Cavs, too, and his selfless style, and great basketball IQ I’d imagine has been meaningful to have been around, also for a young big such as Isaiah Hartenstein, too, along with Mfiondu Kabengele, for instance.

Varejao throughout his career was a consummate pro as well, and although we won’t see him particularly active/putting up buckets, per se, ending out here, young Cavaliers being able to pick his brain is meaningful from a culture standpoint I believe.

Just as us Cavs fans should be doing so in the burn we see for him, young Cavs such as Garland, Okoro and others should soak in their experiences being around Andy in this end-of-career stint for him.

And bigs learning how to time up drawing charges/getting better rebounding positioning and timing up/executing screens better are nice benefits from Varejao’s presence to end out the year, also.

Next. PnR strides could be key for Okoro. dark

Maybe we’ll see a few patented Andy tip-ins in the next few games, too.