I'm the middle of an 18-hour travel day here but I have a few minutes. I gotten some various e-mails on the Anderson Varejao story I wrote for today's paper. Please allow me to elaborate. In it, I quote an NBA executive, and I'll tell you now that is it a general manager but not from the Central Division, who has been told by Varejao's representation that he has an offer above the mid-level exception. I expected the mid-level to be between $5.5-$6 million, so higher to start.
I personally speculated it could've been the Grizzlies, but my source did not tell me that. But this morning I read about new Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace in South America to meet with Andres Nocioni. It may be the Grizzlies after Varejao, it may not be. Maybe it is from a team that wants to do a sign-and-trade with the Cavs. It may be that there is no offer and there's posturing going on. But I know what is being put out there and so I reported it.
Let me just add two points here: Even if it is overpaying a little, were someone actually able to sign Varejao to a deal that averaged $7-$8 million per season, the feel is the Cavs would likely match. Athletic big men are hard to find and Varejao is a potential long-term replacement for Zydrunas Ilgauskas. If it gets to $10 million a season, then it's a different story. Secondly, with Darko Millcic becoming an unrestricted free agent today, the game totally changes. Darko is younger and has more upside, especially on offense, than Varejao. With no restricted status to deal with, he may become more attactive than Varejao all of a sudden.
Also, Darko has the same agent, Marc Cornstein, as Sasha Pavlovic. So with all this stuff going on, and with Cornstein spewing venom at the Magic (and it sounds like he's got a point) Pavlovic is on the back burner for now. It seems having Pavlovic back is a large priority for Danny Ferry, so his contacts of players like Morris Peterson, Matt Carroll and the like are probably backup plans if Sasha talks go poorly.