The Cavaliers and Anderson Varejao are close to finalizing an agreement on a contract extension, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The extension is believed to be for three years, and approximately $30MM, notes Stein. The October 31st deadline doesn’t apply to Varejao so the two sides aren’t working against the clock to get this done prior to 11pm tomorrow night.
This news doesn’t come as a surprise since it was reported earlier that both sides had a mutual interest in keeping Varejao in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. The 32-year-old center said recently that he wants to finish his career with the Cavs, and he has a close relationship with LeBron James, with whom he’d been teammates for six years before James took his talents to South Beach.
Varejao does have some incentive to wait until he he becomes a free agent to sign a new deal with the Cavs. He can only make 107.5% of this year’s nearly $9.705MM salary in the first season of an extension with the Cavs, and an extension could only run through the 2017/18 season. If Varejao waits to become a free agent, he could sign up to a five-year contract for nearly 35 percent of the salary cap, though he’s not a candidate for max money, nor a deal of that length. With his history of injuries and advancing age, signing an extension to stay in Cleveland and gaining some level of financial security has to be appealing for Varejao, not to mention playing for what is shaping up to be an annual contender.
This news also casts some doubt as to the future of Tristan Thompson in wine-and-gold. It was reported earlier this week that negotiations between Thompson and the team had stalled, and Thompson is subject to the October 31st deadline, or else he will become a restricted free agent next summer. Thompson is seeking a new deal in the $12MM per year range, which is a bit pricey for a backup center.
The Cavs have only about $21.5MM in commitments for 2015/16, but that doesn’t include James’ player option for $21,573,398 or Kevin Love‘s for $16,744,218. If Varejao indeed signs for approximately $10MM per year, that won’t leave the Cavs front office much flexibility to ink Thompson and continue to surround the core of James, Love, and Kyrie Irving with the role players needed to contend.