Yesterday, Anderson Varejao and agent Dan Fegan broke their silence in an interview with ESPN. My reaction was in a column in today's paper.
The two sides have avoided making this a media war for five months so the fact that Varejao side is now talking and so are the Cavs, behind the scenes to the media at least, shows just how far apart they are.
Both sides are doing a bunch of scrapping over the details. I don't not have access to all the information and I certainly have grown tired of the he said/he said stuff. After five months of writing about this I just don't think any of that matters except to the men in the trenches, as I said in the column.
My personal opinon on the matter is the Varejao and Fegan have misjudged the market and are scrambling like mad to get around the restricted free agency rules which have been in place for years. They are trying to put public pressure on the Cavs by angling in the media, first saying they'll take a one-year, $5 million contract, then saying they'd bel willing to go to arbibitration, now saying they demand a sign-and-trade.
That's all sounds so good, but no team in the NBA would give Varejao a one-year deal right now. Varejao would never give up position for a rebound, so why would the Cavs give up their refusal rights to an aribitrator? Nobody in the NBA would. As for a sign-and-trade now, who is fooling whom? The summer is for sign-and-trades, the summer is for doing contracts. You don't think Fegan has been working on sign-and-trades since July? Of course he has and there is no deal to make. There one coming now just like there wasn't then. See, so much of this is common NBA sense, which is why so much of this is nonsense.
By the way, Varejao trying to indict the Cleveland media saying he never asked for a contract averaging $10-$11 million a year is rich. One of the worst kept secrets in the NBA is that Fegan asked for six years and more than $60 million a few days before training camp. Executives all over the league have been taking to each other and to media members about that figure. It's not even inside information anymore, everybody knows it. Maybe that is not what they are asking for now, but they asked for it then.
From the Cavs side, their failure is to not have a backup plan in place. While Varejao was refusing to talk all summer, Danny Ferry should've been making a deal to secure another big man. Now they are paying for the lack of a plan B on the court. Also, Danny obviously miscalulated by going to Brazil unannouced. They didn't help matters, so it was a risk that failed.
The real crazy thing about this is they all this agony is over a non-starter. A key bench player and a key player in the playoffs, but at the end of the day he is a complementary big man who is good at taking charges. He's valuable to the Cavs, they want him back, and all that stuff. They have offered him a pile of money. They have said they will put incentives in there that will pay him millions more if he becomes an All-Star or First Team All-NBA or whatever. They just don't think he's worth more than the $6.4 million they are paying Drew Gooden, a player averaging a double-double, this year.
After that, it's all pretty academic.