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.”