Varejao was a second-round pick in 2004 by the Orlando Magic. About a month after drafting him, the Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers struck a deal where the Cavs would send two second-round picks and Tony Battie for Varejao, Drew Gooden, and Steven Hunter. The Cavaliers were looking to rebound from a stunning departure from Carlos Boozer, so Drew Gooden was a short-term option and Varejao was the future. In the end, the trade worked out for us: Gooden stayed with us for four years and played a role in our 2007 Finals run, and Varejao became a roster staple for 12 years.
Primarily used as a backup center to Zydrunas Ilgauskas and sometimes at power forward, Varejao provided an intense burst of energy off the bench. He really started turning heads during the 2007 playoffs, when his rebound happy style of play helped propel the Cavaliers to the finals against the San Antonio Spurs. It wasn’t until the 2008-2009 season did Varejao start to become a regular starter with the team. That year tied his career-high in-game appearances with 81.
Amidst all the season ending injuries during this time, Anderson Varejao continued to show why he was one of the better big men in the game. Between 2010 and 2014, he accomplished several career feats. He piled up 35 points against the Brooklyn Nets in 2012-2013 and had a ridiculous 25 rebounds against Orlando in 2013-2014. While basketball may have deflated in Cleveland between the two LeBron eras, Varejao was playing some of the best basketball of his career. It was his extraordinary play that helped keep the fanbase alive for those years.
Relegated to bench duty, Anderson saw limited action this season. When trade rumors starting swirling around and I saw Varejao’s name had been mentioned, I had a sinking feeling that he would be traded. While the team arguably improved with the trade, it still hurts so much to see Varejao no longer with the Cavaliers. I wanted us to win a title with him. Perhaps he can rejoin us in the future, but for now, he is a free agent looking to sign with a team (Portland waived him after the trade was made). I just hope we don’t see him in the playoffs against us.
Through all the pain and suffering that he accumulated from playing basketball, Varejao continued to persevere and kept coming back to the court. His style of play never lessened from the injuries and he continued to be a dominating physical player who could out-rebound the entire opposition any given night. He was an adept scorer, a quality rebounder, but more than anything he was a phenomenal teammate. He was the heart and soul of this Cavaliers team for many seasons. He will, without question, be missed by the Cavalier faithful. I hope one day we are re-united with our favorite Brazilian basketballer.
Anderson Varejao has signed with the Golden State Warriors. Good luck to him!