Cavaliers and Varejao agree to contract extension
CLEVELAND (AP) — Best known for his wild hair and hustle, Anderson Varejao’s heart and hard work got him a new contract with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland signed its starting center to a contract extension on Friday. Terms of the deal were not immediately confirmed, but the sides had been discussing a three-year, $30 million contract.
Varejao was in the final year of a six-year contract he signed in 2008. He’s making $9.7 million this season and would have been eligible to become a free agent this summer before the Cavs decided to lock him up for a few more seasons.
"Anderson represents how this franchise wants to approach the game of basketball, both on the court and off," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said.
"He has been a key part of our foundation for years and we are very happy that he will continue to be part of our Cavs family as we work toward our goals at the highest level.
"Andy is, and has been, a tireless worker, an incredible teammate and a great competitor that plays with a rare combination of energy and intensity that makes him truly special."
The 32-year-old Varejao has played in 535 games with Cleveland, averaging 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Brazilian has appeared in a franchise-record tying 71 postseason games. Varejao averaged 14.4 rebounds in 2012-13.
"Obviously he’s worked hard, he’s done a lot for this franchise and they’ve rewarded his hard work and dedication to the game," LeBron James said before Friday’s game at Chicago. "It’s exciting for him for sure."
Varejao has always been one of James’ favorite teammates. Varejao is the only player left on Cleveland’s roster who played with James on the Cavs team that made the 2007 finals.
"We’re all very, very happy in the organization," coach David Blatt said. "Andy is a valued member of this team and he’s part of the fabric of Cleveland sports, and that’s just a good news story all around."
The Cavs, who lost their home opener on Thursday to New York, have until midnight Friday to sign Tristan Thompson to a contract extension. If they decide not to sign him, Thompson will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Varejao scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in 27 minutes against the Knicks.