CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao and the Cavaliers are closing in on a three-year extension worth about $30 million, a league source with knowledge of the talks confirmed to the Beacon Journal. The deal should be announced within the next few days.



Varejao is earning $9.7 million in the final year of a six-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2009. Varejao could’ve been an unrestricted free agent next summer, but both sides moved quickly to complete an extension.



Tristan Thompson is also in the final year of his rookie deal and the two sides have until midnight Friday to agree to an extension, otherwise Thompson becomes a restricted free agent next summer and the Cavs will have the right to match any deal he would receive.



Multiple sources with knowledge of the Thompson talks felt optimistic the two sides would reach agreement on a deal prior to the deadline.



Varejao beat out Thompson for the starting center job to start the season, although both are expected to play about the same amount this season.



Varejao, 32, has spent his entire 10-year career with the Cavs. He battled an assortment of injuries during a difficult three-year stretch, but managed to play in 65 games last season and averaged 8.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.



ESPN first reported news of Varejao’s extension.



Together



Nike released a new commercial — which not coincidentally lasts 2:16 — portraying LeBron James and Cleveland citizens huddling together before the opening tip.



A number of people close to James make cameos in the commercial, including his mother, Gloria, his former high school coach Dru Joyce and kids from the LeBron James Family Foundation. The campaign will continue to run through November.



The video was played prior to the start of Thursday’s game and fans in the arena began chanting, pointing and huddling along with the video.



James’ Nike “LeBron 12 Heart of a Lion” shoe also debuted on Thursday.



Hostile environment



Knicks coach Derek Fisher said he wanted his players to embrace the electric environment Thursday’s game provided. As the Knicks grow into playoff contenders, he said, this is the type of environment they’ll face on the road in the Eastern Conference.



“I don’t know if there has been a moment like this to compare it to,” he said. “It’s obviously electric here. But once the game starts, it’s five-on-five. We’re not playing against everybody in Northeast Ohio.”



Fan club



Cavs coach David Blatt left his family behind in Israel when he took this job and none of them made the trip to watch his NBA coaching debut. But he said they were staying up to watch tip-off, even though that wasn’t until 2 a.m. in Israel.



Blatt, however, had plenty of friends from Boston make the trip. But he wouldn’t give an exact figure.



When asked how many people were here to see him, Blatt responded, “20,000. I’m a Clevelander now.”



Faces in the crowd



Among the celebrities spotted in the crowd for the opener were Jay-Z and Beyonce, Justin Bieber, legendary Knicks fan and movie director Spike Lee, former NFL great Michael Strahan and Usher, a minority Cavs owner who sang the national anthem.



Last word



Blatt on his emotions in the hours before his coaching debut with this loaded, revamped roster: “I’m as excited as hell,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?”



Jason Lloyd can be reached at jlloyd@thebeaconjournal.com.