Varejao willing to budge
The Anderson Varejao stalemate continues in Cleveland. But there might be a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Varejao would be willing to accept a one-year deal worth the mid-level figure of $5 million, according to a source close to the free-agent forward.
"Andy wants to play," the source said. "If that's what it takes to get it done, he'll do it."
Varejao, a 6-10 forward, played a key role off the bench for the Cavs last season with his hustle and energy. He has been stuck in a lengthy holdout this season, with the two sides seemingly far apart. It has made for a tense situation in Cleveland, which is trying to hang on in what looks to be a wide-open Eastern Conference race.
It has been widely reported that Varejao was seeking a deal along the lines of five years and $60 million.
That's why Varejao's willingness to sign for one year might be the break needed to get a compromise done.
The Cavs would get the immediate help they need, without taking too big a hit on the luxury tax this season. Varejao would get enough to make him feel like he's being treated fairly.
Meanwhile, a one-year deal would offer long-term protection for both sides. Cleveland wouldn't have to worry about any liabilities beyond this season. Varejao would become an unrestricted free agent, but the Cavs would still hold his Bird Rights. They would be able to go over the salary cap to re-sign him, or work a sign-and-trade.
It is unclear whether Cleveland would be interested in going the one-year route with Varejao. The Cavs hold all the leverage, and might not feel a need to pay more than market value since there are no team with significant salary-cap space. Cavs GM Danny Ferry has not commented on negotiations, other than to say the club had made "a fair and respectful" offer.
But for what it's worth, Varejao appears ready to go for it. According to the source, the Brazilian energizer would have accepted a one-year deal back in training camp had the Cavs offered him mid-level money instead of just the $1.2 million qualifying offer.
"He was willing to do a one-year deal," the source said. "He just wasn't going to do it for $1.2 million. He knows he's worth a lot more than that."