Anderson Varejao hasn’t played at all this season. He’s not hurt physically, anyway, but his feelings sure are. After all, he’s definitely the sensitive type. After last season, he became a restricted free agent, which means the Cavaliers could match any offer made by another team. The Cavaliers offered him the qualifying one year, $1.2 million offer so he could play this season and then become an unrestricted free agent. As a restricted free agent, he is allowed to get offers from other teams, but could it be any more obvious that this is all just an attempt to strong-arm more money out of Cleveland? Obviously, no one else has offered him the six years and $52 million his agent asked the Cavs for during last season.
We were stunned that Varejao would ask for $52 million over six years. “Stunned” isn’t really even a strong enough word. Conflagriblastulated isn’t a word, but it sounds more along the lines of what we were feeling. $52 million for a guy who averaged 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last year. What did he think was going to happen here? It makes about as much sense as the fact that Ian Ziering dated Leticia Cline (right). I mean what the hell?
In Varejao’s defense, he was an important part of the Cavs miracle run to the NBA Finals last season. There, we said it. Happy?
We decided to go through each NBA team’s salaries and see who is being paid at or near the $8.6 million per year Varejao was asking for and then looked at their statistics so far this season to compare with Varejao’s from last season. The results were even more hilarious than the contract numbers. You’ll notice that each and every one of these guys is much, much better at pretty much every facet of the game than Anderson Varejao, and they’re being paid as such.
Eddy Curry – New York – 17.2ppg 6.3 rpg
07-08 salary: $8.9 million
Curry is one of the better post players in the league and he’s only making 300K more than Varejao wanted from the Cavs for the pleasure of seeing his hair on the court 82 times.
Lebron James – Cleveland – 07-08 salary: $13 million
Do I even need to list his stats here? It’s freaking LeBron. And he only makes four and a half million more than Varejao wanted. Is all that LeBron James brings to Cleveland only worth $4.4 million more than what Anderson Varejao brings? His salary is going up in the coming years, but still.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas – Cleveland – 14.9 ppg 11.9 rpg
07-08 salary: $10 million
Yet another teammate of Varejao’s who is contributing a heck of a lot more statistically than Varejao did last season, and anyone who has watched a Cavs game in recent years knows Ilgauskas is a stiff. Yeah, I know, Anderson’s contributions can’t always be measured by the numbers. He’s an “energy guy.” But the NBA is a money-for-statistics league. You don’t make the numbers machine jingle, you don’t get paid.
Mike Miller – Memphis – 15.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.8 apg
07-08 salary: $8.25 million
One of the best shooters in the league and a surprisingly important piece of the Memphis machine, even though they’re terrible. You may notice his averages are slightly better than Varejao’s.
Nick Collison – Seattle – 8.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
07-08 salary: $5.75 million
Collison is making less than what Varejao wanted and yet his numbers are better in every category that matters for that type of forward. Collison averages more points and rebounds and is cheaper.
Chris Kaman – LA Clippers – 18.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.8 apg
07-08salary: $8.6 million
Here’s a guy making the exact same money and producing like crazy. I’m not sure his numbers will be like this the entire season, but is there any doubt that Chris Kaman is far better than Anderson Varejao?
Troy Murphy - Indiana – 12.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.7 apg
07-08 salary: $9.2million
First, I had no idea these were Troy Murphy’s averages. It’s unbelievable that a player this bad can have stats like these. Or a salary like that. I mention him here only because it’s worth noting that many players in the NBA are severely overpaid. So, Varejao has something of a point, considering how useless guys like Troy Murphy are.
In the end, there’s a reason Varejao hasn’t gotten the money he would like from the Cavs or any other team, for that matter: he just isn’t that good. A teammate of his last season, Donyell Marshall, averaged more points (7.0) than Varejao last season and made only $5.56 million. Chuck Hayes averaged the same amount of rebounds as Varejao for the Houston Rockets and is only being paid $1.75 million this season. Both of those respectable gentlemen would never, ever ask for $8.6 million per season.
Basically, Anderson Varejao has bailed on his teammates and the Cleveland fans who embraced him last season because he is completely out of his mind and has overestimated his worth to the team. Sure, Cleveland isn’t that good and his presence would make the team better. And even though the Cavs made the finals last year, everyone knew there wasn’t one supporting player on the Cavs who was worth anything. LeBron did it totally by himself. Well, maybe Varejao and his agent are the only guys who don’t know that.