CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao will not play again this season for the Cavaliers. His team in Brazil, however, is another story.
Varejao was shut down by the Cavaliers on Friday and will not play the final week of the season. He is, however, still committed to playing for Brazil this summer at the London Olympics.
Varejao’s fractured right wrist, which he injured on Feb. 10, has been slow to heal. The fracture itself mended just fine, but Varejao is still experiencing pain around the wrist. This is the second consecutive season Varejao had cut short with an injury.
Cavs coach Byron Scott informed Varejao on Friday afternoon that he wouldn’t return, but Varejao said he saw this coming recently when the wrist wasn’t improving fast enough and the Cavs were running out of games.
“I was trying really hard working out, trying to shoot the ball, trying to do a lot of stuff out there and I wasn’t able to,” Varejao said. “It was really sore and I was in a lot of pain. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is.”
Varejao was enjoying his best season before the injury, but played just 25 games and averaged 10.8 points and 11.5 rebounds. Scott said a healthy Varejao and a healthy Kyrie Irving could’ve resulted in an additional 10-15 victories, which would have placed the Cavaliers in the thick of the playoff race.
“I’m not going to risk putting him out there when he’s still not 110 percent,” Scott said. “It’s easier for us to shut him down and try to get him ready for next season.”
The Cavs cannot prevent anyone from playing in the Olympics, provided the player purchases his own insurance policy to cover his contract. As a result, the Cavs will not stand in Varejao’s way from playing for Brazil despite the fact Varejao has suffered injuries in each of his last two international competitions.
He injured his right ankle during the summer of 2010 in a warm-up game for the FIBA World Championships, then missed half of last season when he tore the tendon off that same ankle in January.
He missed nearly half of the 2005-06 season after dislocating his right shoulder during a World Championship qualifying game in 2005.
The Cavs, however, are powerless to stop him from playing this summer.
“The thing about guys playing for their country, I understand that,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t discourage it one bit.”
Hudson moves on
Lester Hudson’s agent thought his client did enough during his first 10 days with the Cavaliers to warrant a guarantee for the rest of the season. The Cavs’ front office disagreed, and as a result, Hudson signed as a free agent Friday with his hometown Memphis Grizzlies.
Keith Glass, Hudson’s agent, said Hudson gladly would’ve signed for the rest of the season had the Cavs extended the offer April 9. But the team only wanted to sign him to a second 10-day deal.
When that contract expired Thursday, Glass and Hudson chose not to re-sign with the Cavaliers.
“If 10 days ago, they had just done what I thought they should’ve done, which was guarantee the rest of the year, he would’ve signed it and been there,” Glass said. “The way the league works, the way the world works, the word is leverage. I guess they had the leverage 10 days ago and we had some [Thursday].”
The Cavaliers did not offer Hudson any guaranteed dollars for next season, Glass said. Instead, the Cavs offered to sign Hudson for the rest of this season and offered him a nonguaranteed deal for next season. It’s similar to the deals signed by Manny Harris and Donald Sloan.
Glass, however, wasn’t interested.
“We just didn’t feel like giving up a year of his freedom for eight days,” Glass said.
Nonguaranteed contracts next season won’t become guaranteed until early January. By ending this season with the Grizzlies, who also didn’t guarantee him any dollars for next season, they will control Hudson’s rights this summer.
In order to make him a restricted free agent, the Grizzlies will have to extend a qualifying offer of about $1.1 million for next season. The Cavs weren’t interested in guaranteeing Hudson that much money — and essentially a roster spot — for next season.
Hudson exploded toward the end of his first 10-day contract, totaling 74 points over three games, but cooled after signing the second 10-day deal. He shot 40 percent from the floor and 23 percent on 3-pointers during his time with the Cavaliers.
“No matter where you are, if you’re on the basketball court, you are auditioning not only for us, but for other teams,” Scott said. “Lester played really well for us, did some really good things and obviously got the attention of some other teams in the league. We wanted to re-sign him, but he also was looking at other opportunities and took advantage of that opportunity. I just wish him all the best.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com.