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Interesting Column On Varejao's Pending Restricted FA

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Interesting Column On Varejao's Pending Restricted FA

Unread postby swerb » Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:50 am

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/bas ... 046938.htm

Pushing toward a gigantic payday

Next few weeks could mean lot for Cavs' Varejao

By Brian Windhorst


AUBURN HILLS, MICH - Anderson Varejao is a little shy when it comes to talking to the media. It's not that he's an introvert -- far from it, actually -- but he's still a little nervous about the language barrier.

But even in plain English, it is easy for the Cavaliers' energetic Brazilian to understand the gravity of these next few weeks for him. Not only is he looking to help lead the Cavs into some sort of playoff push, but he's also making his final audition for what is likely to be the biggest payday of his life.

If Varejao were more of a loudmouth or played in a market other than Cleveland, where the media corps is small and the questions not often too pressing, his upcoming free agency would probably have been a season-long topic as his importance to the team has continued to blossom.

Instead, he discussed it last week for the first time all season.

``I think it is the time to get a good deal, and we're going to work on that,'' Varejao said, devoid of his usual smile. ``Teams can see what I do, and Cleveland is going to see what is fair and how important I am.''

Last year's playoffs, especially the Pistons series, turned Varejao from a mere cult hero within the Cavs' fan base into a recognizable character around the league and a juicy target for other teams. His rebounding, charge-taking and screen-rolling antics were perhaps secondary only to LeBron James in the May surge.

Which is why, since last summer, Varejao has been the most-requested Cav in trade talks. He's a versatile big-energy man, a grown-up Joakim Noah, if you will. There's not a glut of such players, which is why they often get paid handsomely.

Varejao will be on the market as a restricted free agent, and the Cavs have his full ``Bird'' rights, which means they can match any offer he receives regardless of salary-cap position. They probably fully intend to do so, which might affect just how vigorous the market -- read: price tag -- is for him. But it isn't that simple, of course.

Last winter, Varejao hired agent Dan Fegan, who has built a strong reputation for making the term ``restricted'' obsolete. In fact, he's perhaps the agent NBA teams like dealing with the least these days. Which means he's very good at his job.


Varejao outwardly insists there was no strategy in making the switch, that it was a family matter. Literally. Varejao said he signed on with Fegan because the agent hired Varejao's brother, Sandro, to work for his California-based firm. Sandro Varejao, who played in college at West Virginia, represents his brother in dealings in Brazil.

Fegan has a history of switching the pressure from the restricted free agent, who usually doesn't have much leverage under the current rules, back to the team. He's been able to get a number of restricted free agents favorable deals, even when it appeared that teams were either bidding against themselves or unwilling to accommodate sign-and-trade deals.

Just last summer, Fegan landed another Brazilian, Nene, a $60 million deal with the Denver Nuggets just a few days into his restricted free agency, even though no other teams appeared to be offering that sort of cash and the player was coming off a serious knee injury. It is just one example of Fegan's success in this area.

``It was a great deal he got for Nene,'' Varejao acknowledged. ``I was impressed.''

Impressed or envious? Varejao is pulling down $945,000 this season, the last of a three-year contract he signed as a second-round pick in 2004. He seems to want a very large pay bump. But he also says his preference is to stay with the Cavs.

``I do want to stay here. This team is going up, and I want to be a part of it next year and beyond,'' Varejao said. ``I'm not going to rush it; I'm going to take my time and look at all the options I have. What I want is fair for what other teams can offer and pay players like me.''

Which is where it gets interesting. Only a handful of teams can make Varejao a substantial contract offer with salary-cap space. And most of them, especially the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats, are already set in the frontcourt. The Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks might be interested in extending a hefty offer sheet.

The other option is a sign-and-trade deal, which the Cavs don't have to take part in if they are not so inclined.

All of which should play in the team's favor, as does Varejao's desire to get the contract wrapped up in time for him to play with the Brazilian national team in August's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. But Fegan, as one Western Conference general manager said, ``can be unreasonable and uncompromising'' when it comes to restricted free agents and could easily threaten that Varejao will play out a one-year deal to become an unrestricted free agent in 2008.

How it will plays out will be an interesting story to track in July and perhaps into August or September.

But for now, Varejao fully understands the opportunity in front of him.

``I'm going to do what is good for me,'' he said. ``I've always thought that if you do things the right way, the money will come, and I think I've been doing that.''
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Unread postby furls » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:35 am

``I've always thought that if you do things the right way, the money will come, and I think I've been doing that.''


He certainly does do things the right way. He is probably the highest energy Cav on the floor 90% of the time. I have been a member of the Varejao bandwagon for a long time (I think I started calling for him to eat up Zs minutes early last year). I wonder if he could end up a cap casualty. Right now they have him basically playing for free (can you believe that DJ makes 4X what Varejao does or that Snow makes 6X his salary?). Sucks because they MUST resign him, he is the entire front court right now.
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Unread postby Guest » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:43 am

I am not that big of a fan of his.
The energy is great but his lack of offense would prevent me from giving him a huge payday.
Someone will overpay him just like Ben Wallace got way too much money from the Bulls.
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Unread postby furls » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:46 am

The way I see it, not everyone needs to be a scorer (Dennis Rodman) in fact I think teams without players that know their roles are actually worse off for having the scorer's. In theory (not practice) Laura Hughes, LBJ, and Z should be enough offense. Varejao's offense should only be of the "they are selling out to double others" variety or pick and rolls where no one rolls with him. He understands that and plays that. Right now he is all about defense, rebounding, and hustle (three things that are absent from the rest of the lineup). Is he worth sick power forward money, probably not, but he is a crucial cog on this team.
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Unread postby swerb » Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:21 am

Varejao isn't going anywhere. No chance of it.

The Cavs brilliantly comandeered Gooden's RFA, and heres hoping they can do the same here without getting Nened.
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Unread postby RC » Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:36 am

This team has got to get it's salary cap situation under control.

With the money the Cavs are giving to DJ, Z, Marshall, and especially Hughes and Snow the Cavs need to get rid of some of that dead weight.

We'll see how good Danny Ferry really is since he's going to somehow need to clear these cap black holes to keep the young core of Cavs that he is developing.

I root for the Cavs and I would love to see them get far again in the playoffs however this is a part of my brain that hopes they get bounced in the first round just so they may realize that the team that is currently constructed isn't going to get a NBA championship in Cleveland.

Basically at this point the Cavs need to hold on to these pieces somehow:
Lebron
Side Show Bob
Pavs
Gibson

Everyone else should be on the block this offseason. Now with Gooden, Shannon Brown and Ira Newble's expiring contract the Cavs do have some tradeable assets.

Basically, I think other than the four above this team needs to be blown up and Larry Hughes is probably the first guy that needs to go.
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Unread postby Dozen » Sun Apr 08, 2007 10:15 am

How much is he worth when the NBA changes the flop rule?
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Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Apr 08, 2007 10:43 am

Swerb wrote:Varejao isn't going anywhere. No chance of it.

The Cavs brilliantly comandeered Gooden's RFA, and heres hoping they can do the same here without getting Nened.


This isn't serious Swerb, is it?

Also, as far as tradeable goes, what do you think they get for Newble or Shannon Brown at this point? And Gooden was worth a Channing Frye a few months ago.

Let's not start all the rhetoric back up that we had before the trade deadline. The Cavs are stuck as they are for at least two more seasons. They can change the look of the franchise about the time Lebron leaves.
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Unread postby swerb » Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:18 am

Lead Pipe wrote:
Swerb wrote:Varejao isn't going anywhere. No chance of it.

The Cavs brilliantly comandeered Gooden's RFA, and heres hoping they can do the same here without getting Nened.


This isn't serious Swerb, is it?

Also, as far as tradeable goes, what do you think they get for Newble or Shannon Brown at this point? And Gooden was worth a Channing Frye a few months ago.

Let's not start all the rhetoric back up that we had before the trade deadline. The Cavs are stuck as they are for at least two more seasons. They can change the look of the franchise about the time Lebron leaves.


Gooden and Nene were both RFAs. Nene forced the Nuggets into panicking into signing him to a 6/60 deal. The Cavs stayed patient, continued to tell everyone and anyone that they would match any deals made to Drew, and ended up gettign him for a very managable 3/23 deal that any team would take on right now, even given Goodens flaws as a player.

Theres alot to criticize about the Ferry era as GM. How they handled Gooden as a RFA is not one of them. They gladly rewrite that deal right now.
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Unread postby RC » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:29 pm

The way I see it with Varejao is that they will probably give him around Gooden money with more years. Maybe 5-6 years/40 to 48 mil.

And, if the Cavs can still make some sort of trade with the Kings for Bibby then the money they spent for Gooden would just be replaced by Varejao (assuming of course Gooden is part of the Bibby trade).

As long as the Cavs and Side Show don't pull a Boozer it should hopefully all work out this summer.

As for the people saying we are stuck with this team well if the Cavs could get rid of Shawn Kemp's albatross contract, they can get rid of anyones.

To be honest, it's Pavlovic's deal and what he will do that concerns me since we haven't heard anything about that from him or his agent. At least Anderson has come out and said he wants to stay in Cleveland.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Sun Apr 08, 2007 10:51 pm

I understand what your saying Swerb, it's just that "brilliant" and Gooden really shouldn't be in the same sentence.

And, I wonder how Pavlovic feels after the last two coaches of this team had little problem berating the guys game.

Lastly, they are stuck with this team. Nobody is touching Z's or Hughes' contract. You can think Sean Kemp all you want. I like to deal with rules, rather than exceptions.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:55 pm

Lead Pipe wrote:I understand what your saying Swerb, it's just that "brilliant" and Gooden really shouldn't be in the same sentence.

And, I wonder how Pavlovic feels after the last two coaches of this team had little problem berating the guys game.

Lastly, they are stuck with this team. Nobody is touching Z's or Hughes' contract. You can think Sean Kemp all you want. I like to deal with rules, rather than exceptions.


Certainly Gooden is not brilliant by any means, but the contract we got him to sign is pretty brilliant.

As for Hughes and Z, there are teams that would take them. It all depends on what kind of junk we'd have to take back. No player in the NBA is untradeable because the cap rules and contract lengths. You're not going to get uber-studs in return for either, you're going to trade your junk for someone else's. The issue to consider is whether their junk fits better than the junk you're trading. It's like trading a rusted out Pinto for a rusted out Gremlin. The Gremlin's styling might suit you slightly better. Maybe the Gremlin gets slightly better mileage. The Gremlin certainly doesn't have the explosion issue.

Point is, no one is entirely untradeable. Truth be told, if someone out there did fall in love with Varejao then an attempt could be made to offload either Hughes or Z in a sign-and-trade.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:09 pm

Well, I'll meet you half way. True, nobody is untradeable. They are untradeable in the sense of helping the team. In other words, if the Cavs would manage to find someone dumb enough to take Hughes, the Cavs will be saddled with some other expensive dead weight which will prevent them from being championship caliber.

So, if I were to rephrase my outlook on the Cavs, instead of saying they'll be saddled with the same crummy players and contracts two years from now, (Snow, Marshall, hughes etc.) I should just say "Two years from now this team will still have crummy players and contracts."
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:39 am

Lead Pipe wrote:Well, I'll meet you half way. True, nobody is untradeable. They are untradeable in the sense of helping the team. In other words, if the Cavs would manage to find someone dumb enough to take Hughes, the Cavs will be saddled with some other expensive dead weight which will prevent them from being championship caliber.

So, if I were to rephrase my outlook on the Cavs, instead of saying they'll be saddled with the same crummy players and contracts two years from now, (Snow, Marshall, hughes etc.) I should just say "Two years from now this team will still have crummy players and contracts."


Not sure I entirely agree with that one either.

Both Hughes and Z have more value than most of us think. Hughes could fit better offensively in other systems that are lacking someone to drive the lane. He's still WAY overpaid, but in taking dead weight it's possible that you could get a good younger player that works better for the Cavs in trade.

Z is big, can play in the post, and can shoot outside of the paint. You'd likely find that several teams out there would love to have Z and believe his contract is a good deal. He's older, but his foot problems haven't been an issue for years. The numbers aren't spectacular for either guy, but some execs will believe that they're not getting lots of plays called for them or that they don't fit well in Cleveland.

They still are paid a lot, but Z's salary in particular is not all that out of whack. Have you seen what Adonal Foyle is making? $8.1M. Dalembert is making $8.8M. Theo Ratliff is taking in $11.6M.

Sub $10M for a guy who has some offensive skills and is over 7 foot is considered a deal, no matter how much Cleveland fans think Z sucks. I think Z is more tradeable than Hughes and is more valuable in a halfcourt offense that likes to turn the tempo down a bit.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:10 am

The length of Z's contract is the killer. 11 million player's option 3 years from now? He's getting taken out of games by teams now, in three years how slow is he going to be? I just don't see anyone taking him, especially how the league has changed. Teams are actually doing quite well without true centers (one of the reasons Z gets eliminated vs. certain teams).

And Hughes 14 million 3 and 4 years from now.

Nothing is impossible Mac, and I have to admire the optimism, but I think there are only a handful of teams stupid enough to get involved in theses contracts, and, unfortunately, history shows the Cavs are the stupidest of them all.
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