Anderson Varejao

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Central Notes: White, Varejao, Turner, Holiday

The Bulls still may target a point guard in free agency this summer, but Coby White is showing indications that he can handle the job, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. While it has taken a while for White to adjust to the NBA, the 21-year-old is making progress at the end of his second season. He had 17 points and 10 assists Thursday night, marking his first game with double-digit assists since January 10.

White has returned to the starting lineup after Tomas Satoransky took over as the starting point guard for 15 games. Coach Billy Donovan believes White has benefited from playing alongside center Nikola Vucevic, who was acquired at the trade deadline, and a slower pace has also worked to White’s advantage.

“I’ve always had perseverance,” White said. “But this year, with ups and downs and being pushed constantly, from the coaching staff to front office to my teammates, I think for me learning to play the point guard position at a high level in the NBA, which is continuing to stay focused and continuing to stay within yourself.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have received a hardship exception continuation to sign Anderson Varejao for the rest of the season, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Varejao’s first 10-day day contract has expired, but he has re-signed for the season’s final three days. This was Cleveland’s plan from the time Varejao was added to the roster, Fedor adds.
  • Even though he’s a long shot for the award, Pacers center Myles Turner stated his case for Defensive Player of the Year honors Thursday night, according to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Turner leads the league with 3.4 blocked shots per game, but he has missed 23 games due to injury and has no timetable to return. “I understand defense isn’t all about blocks,” Turner said. “That’s something I do best. After this season I’m going to lead the league in blocks in two out of the last three years. I defend the perimeter. I’m one of the better pick-and-roll defenders in the league. My team needs me out there. When I’m not out there, the difference is glaring.”
  • Bucks guard Jrue Holiday earned a $255K bonus by playing in his 58th game of the season Thursday night, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Holiday secured another bonus earlier this week for total minutes played.

Central Notes: Hayes, Stewart, Sirvydis, Gottlieb, Varejao

The Pistons’ four rookie draft picks continue to receive extensive playing time and coach Dwane Casey is encouraged by the progress of the team’s so-called “Core Four,” Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That quartet of Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee combined for 73 points, 22 rebounds and 19 assists against the Bulls on Sunday.

“It’s another area of growth, of toughness,” Casey said. “If you win with toughness in this league, we’d have won quite a few games. Those guys toughed it out – mentally, physically – and it says a lot about their character, who they are as people.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Another Pistons rookie, Euro import Deividas Sirvydis, had an eight-point, six-rebound outing against Philadelphia on Saturday and he’s also trying to make an impression in the late going, Langlois writes in a separate story. Sirvydis joined Detroit during the offseason after being selected in the second round in 2019 as a draft-and-stash prospect. “The main thing with him is getting stronger, which he’s done,” Casey said. “I’ve told our guys, he’s going to be a player one day. He’s going to be one of those big two/threes who can stretch the floor.”
  • Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is leaving the franchise when the regular season is completed. She has been named USC’s head women’s coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Gottlieb, who had been on Cleveland’s staff since 2019, was the first female head coach from a Power 5 conference to become an NBA assistant coach. She previously coached Cal for eight seasons.
  • While it may have been heartwarming to see 38-year-old Anderson Varejao make a brief comeback in the NBA, the Cavaliers should have evaluated a younger player looking for a chance, Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues. The team could have signed someone who played in the G League or overseas and potentially found a diamond in the rough, Vardon writes, noting that some other teams have gotten productive minutes from players on 10-day contracts or rest-of-season deals.

Central Notes: Varejao, Cavaliers, Grant, Brimah

The Cavaliers recently signed veteran center Anderson Varejao to a 10-day contract, honoring the 38-year-old with a celebratory deal for his past stints.

Varejao, who played with Cleveland from 2004-16, was part of numerous playoff runs and appeared in 591 regular-season games with the team. He received a phone call from GM Koby Altman just last week, with Altman delivering some good news.

“He said, ‘Andy, let’s do this. We’re gonna bring you back,’” Varejao recalled, as relayed by Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “It was a moment that I took to myself, like, ‘Wow, it’s really about to happen.’ It feels right.

“Cleveland is home for me. I love the city, I love the fans, I love the organization. I’m happy to be back. It’s not just the end of this season, it’s the 12 years that I’ve been here, that all counts to me. I was always ready to come back to be honest. I’m excited. It feels like I never left.”

There’s more from the Central Division today:

  • In a separate story for Cleveland.com, Chris Fedor explores whether the Cavaliers can follow the Suns’ path in their rebuild. Phoenix holds the NBA’s best record at 47-18 after years of rebuilding, finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. The Suns defeated Cleveland 134-118 in overtime on Tuesday.
  • Pistons forward Jerami Grant, who has been sidelined since April 26 with right knee soreness, is returning to the team’s lineup on Saturday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. Detroit will take on Philadelphia in a road contest that night.
  • The Pacers‘ two-way contract with Amida Brimah is for two years, running through 2021/22, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets. Brimah, a 27-year-old center, signed that deal to join the club last month.

Cavs Officially Sign Anderson Varejão To 10-Day Deal

The Cavaliers have officially brought back longtime center Anderson Varejão, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed him to a 10-day contract. The move had been expected once Cleveland was granted a hardship exception, which allows the team to carry an extra player.

If it feels like it’s been a while since you’ve seen Varejão in the NBA, you’re not wrong — the 38-year-old big man played his last NBA game on February 2, 2017 before being waived by the Warriors a day later. He spent two years playing professionally in Brazil after that, but has been inactive since 2019.

The Cavaliers view their reunion with Varejão as a “celebratory contract” for a player who spent over a decade with the franchise, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wrote last week. It’s probably safe to assume Varejão won’t be a regular rotation player for the Cavs during the next 10 days, but he’s expected to see a little action before he officially calls it a career.

“Andy embodies all that the city of Cleveland stands for and beyond, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience, leadership and character back into this locker room,” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in a statement. “His infectious work ethic and commitment to our community have earned him his rightful place in the fabric of this organization and all of Northeast Ohio, and have established a genuine admiration that resonates strongly throughout our passionate fan base.

“There are not many athletes who can impact the game of basketball the way Andy has over his career, and I feel that our players will benefit greatly from their daily interaction with him. We are thrilled to welcome Andy and family back to the Cavaliers.”

Varejão, who put out his own statement expressing gratitude to Altman and team owner Dan Gilbert for the opportunity, spent 13 seasons in the NBA, including over 11 with Cleveland. In 591 career regular season games with the franchise, he averaged 7.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. He also played in 71 postseason games with the Cavs before finishing his career with the Warriors.

Because a contract signed using a hardship exception can only be a 10-day deal, Varejão’s contract – which will pay him $175,668 – will only run through May 13. Assuming the Cavs still meet the criteria for the hardship provision, they could sign him to a rest-of-season contract after that if they want to retain him for the last two games of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers Granted Hardship Exception

2:31pm: The Cavaliers have been granted a hardship exception, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.


1:04pm: The Cavaliers have formally applied for a hardship exception, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Unlike a disabled player exception – which gives teams extra cap flexibility and can only be used to replace a player who suffers a season-ending injury – a hardship exception allows a team to add a 16th player to its 15-man roster on a short-term basis. It can be granted by the league if a club has at least four players who have missed three or more games due to injury or illness and are expected to be out for at least two more weeks.

In Cleveland’s case, Dylan Windler (knee), Taurean Prince (ankle), and Matthew Dellavedova (neck) have all been sidelined for more than three games and are expected to miss the rest of the season. Larry Nance Jr. (thumb), Isaiah Hartenstein (concussion), and Lamar Stevens (concussion) have also missed the team’s last four games. Presumably, the Cavs expect at least one of Nance, Hartenstein, and Stevens to be out for the year as well, since the regular season ends in two weeks.

Assuming their request is granted, the Cavs intend to use the extra roster spot to sign veteran center Anderson Varejão. Varejão hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2016/17 season, but Cleveland wants to give the 38-year-old an opportunity to play his final professional minutes with the franchise with which he spent more than a decade from 2004-16.

If the Cavs receive a hardship exception early in the week, the expectation is that Varejão will sign a 10-day contract.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Sexton, Dellavedova, Varejão

Kevin Love‘s latest display of anger raises the question of why the Cavaliers are willing to be so patient with him when they won’t do the same for other players, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Frustrated with not getting a foul call in Monday’s game, Love swatted the ball away when a referee threw it to him for an inbounds pass. It bounced to a Raptors player and led to an open three-pointer in a lopsided loss. Love apologized for the incident, and the team handled it internally.

It’s the latest in a series of outbursts involving Love, whose behavior keeps getting overlooked by the organization, Vardon contends. It happened during the same week as a 50-point game by Kevin Porter Jr., who was traded to Houston after throwing food at the wall and screaming at general manager Koby Altman when his locker was given away. The Cavaliers stopped playing J.R. Smith and Andre Drummond under similar circumstances and eventually waived both players.

Cleveland has fewer options when it comes to Love, Vardon adds. He still has two years and $60MM left on the contract extension he signed as a show of loyalty after LeBron James left. It’s too expensive for other teams to consider a trade or for a buyout to be realistic. The front office promised Love that it would try to remain competitive when he signed the deal, Vardon notes, but the team quickly switched to rebuilding.

Love is 32, coming off a string of injuries and is posting the worst statistical season of his career, so he and the team may be stuck in an unpleasant situation for a while longer.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Vardon expects the Cavs to offer Collin Sexton a rookie scale extension this summer, despite the fact that it might not be in their best interest. Vardon doesn’t see a strong market for Sexton if he becomes a restricted free agent in 2022, even though he has developed into a reliable scorer. Sexton still tends to dominate the ball a lot, and the Cavs might be better off waiting another year to see if he and Darius Garland can be a successful backcourt, but Vardon believes they will give Sexton the extension to show Love and the other veteran players that the team has a plan that’s being followed.
  • Matthew Dellavedova is likely out for the rest of the season, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The veteran guard suffered a neck strain April 25 and hasn’t been with the team since. Dellavedova’s absence is part of why the Cavs hope to be granted a hardship exception to sign Anderson Varejão. The front office wants the 38-year-old big man to finish his NBA career in Cleveland, where he was a popular figure during his 12 years with the team.
  • The Cavaliers are focused on developing their young players as they wind down a disappointing, injury-filled season, Fedor adds in a separate story.

Anderson Varejão To Return To Cavs

Longtime Cavaliers center Anderson Varejão is returning to the franchise for the rest of the 2020/21 season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Selected with the No. 30 pick in 2004 out of Brazil, Varejão proved to be a crucial two-way force on several LeBron James-fronted Cleveland clubs. Varejão’s tenure in Cleveland reached its personal peak when he made a 2009/10 All-Defensive Second Team. The veteran would be plagued by injuries that would cause him to miss more than half of his games during four of the next five seasons.

All told, the Brazilian big man logged nearly 12 full seasons with the team, in addition to spending parts of two years with the Warriors. Varejão last suited up in the NBA for 14 games with Golden State during the team’s eventful 2016/17 season. He holds career league averages of 7.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 0.9 SPG and 0.6 BPG.

Varejão most recently served stints in 2018 and 2019 with Brazilian club Flamengo.

The 38-year-old vet could see spot minutes behind starting center Jarrett Allen and his primary backup Isaiah Hartenstein, on a rebuilding Cleveland roster with its eye on the lottery. At 21-41, the Cavaliers are the No. 13 seed in the East, seven games behind the tenth-seeded Wizards for a shot at the NBA’s play-in tournament. Bringing back a fan favorite now will be a fun wrinkle as the team embraces its fate and prepares for the 2021 draft.

Given their plans to re-sign Mfiondu Kabengele, the Cavs won’t technically have an open spot on their 15-man roster to sign Varejão, but the club is hoping to receive approval for a hardship exception to add a 16th man, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who refers to Varejão’s anticipated deal as a “celebratory contract.” It may end up being a 10-day pact rather than a rest-of-season contract, depending on when it’s completed, Fedor adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anderson Varejao Hasn’t Given Up Hope Of An NBA Comeback

Anderson Varejao has spent two seasons out of the NBA, but he’s hoping a team will give him an opportunity during the upcoming season, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Now 36, Varejao was a valuable reserve big man for 13 NBA seasons, mostly with the Cavaliers. He has been playing in Brazil since being waived by the Warriors in February of 2017. He didn’t see much game action during his time with Golden State, but says the chance to play regularly has reinvigorated him.

“I feel a lot better, 100 percent better than how it felt back then, because I got to play again,” Varejao said. “I got to play and I got to be on the floor for more minutes and all of that. I’ve got more rhythm and that’s why I am feeling the way I’m feeling right now.”

Varejao’s contract in Brazil has expired, so he’s free to sign anywhere. He doesn’t expect an invitation to an NBA training camp, but is hopeful that an opportunity will eventually arise from a team that needs a veteran big man to play a few minutes a night and serve as a mentor to younger players. Although he still owns a home in Cleveland, he doesn’t expect that chance to come from a rebuilding team like the Cavaliers.

“I miss all the good years in Cleveland, the teammates I had during the 13 years I had in the NBA,” Varejao said. “The fans, the country in general. I miss America. I miss being away when I’m in Brazil. I do miss the game as well, but I miss the good times that I had with Cleveland and also with the Warriors.”

Varejao is currently participating in the World Cup, where his Brazilian team is preparing for its greatest challenge tomorrow against Team USA. It’s a crucial game for Brazil, which likely needs a win to advance to the quarterfinals.

“This won’t be my first time playing against USA,” Varejao said. “It is good, it brings memories and stuff like that. We’re just thinking about trying to win the game because if we don’t win, we’re going to be in a tough situation.”

And-Ones: Bennett, Evans, P. Jones, Varejao

After being waived by the Suns last month, Anthony Bennett is back in the G League to earn another shot at the NBA, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star-Tribune. The top pick in the 2013 draft, Bennett had a brief and checkered career, spending a year each with the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, then partial seasons with the Raptors and Nets.

At age 24, Bennett is with the Suns’ affiliate in Northern Arizona and believes he can work his way back to the big leagues. “I guess my focus is different,” he said. “I wouldn’t say this is my last chance, but, you know, I just have to prove to everybody that I can play.”

There’s more news from the G League and overseas:

  • Jeremy Evans, best known as the winner of the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contest, signed a G League contract and was claimed off waivers by the Reno Bighorns, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. Evans, who played five seasons for the Jazz and one with the Mavericks, was waived by the Hawks before the start of the season. He played in Russia last season.
  • Perry Jones III, a first-round pick in 2012, has signed a G League contract and will join the Iowa Wolves, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Jones, who spent three years in Oklahoma City after the Thunder selected him with the No. 28 pick, has previous experience with the Iowa franchise, along with a one-game stay in Russia.
  • Brazilian center Anderson Varejao may finish his career in his home country, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. Varejao, 35, had been hoping to return to the NBA, but is now considering an offer from the Flamengo team in Brazil. He was waived by the Warriors in February.