The Golden State Warriors are reportedly among the favorites to sign former Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao once he clears waivers on Sunday following his trade from Cleveland to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Brazilian player has spent his entire career with the Cavs and was traded to Portland on Thursday in a three-team deal that sent former Magic power forward Channing Frye to Cleveland. The Trail Blazers immediately waived Varejao and once he clears waivers, he will then be signing with the Golden State Warriors, according to a report by ESPN's Marc Stein.
Acquiring Varejao could be a wise move for the Warriors as they recently lost Festus Ezeli to knee surgery. The team is still waiting for Ezeli to recover, who might not return until the playoffs or later. Stein further reported that aside from the Warriors, other teams that were highly interested in signing Varejao were the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, in order to sign Varejao, the Warriors would have to open a spot on their 15-man roster. To do that, the team will reportedly release reserve power forward-center Jason Thompson, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
In response to questions inquiring about Varejao's possible signing, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Friday, "I have not been notified of that but it makes perfect sense, right? I don't even know, am I allowed to even mention his name? I can get fined by the NBA. I don't even know what the rule is." Publicly discussing a potential deal involving Varejao would not be considered tampering since he does not belong to a team at present after the Trail Blazers placed him on waivers.
As mentioned, the 33-year-old Varejao has played only for the Cavaliers in his 12 seasons in the association, prompting him to post a thank you letter to Cleveland fans on Facebook last Friday. The first part of the post reads, "For the last 12 years, I have had the honor of representing the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers organization, and for that I will forever be grateful. Coming over from Spain at the young age of 21 was a difficult transition, but as soon as I put on a Cavs jersey and stepped on the court, I felt at home."
Meanwhile, Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant is slated to become a free agent this summer. While he has been staying quiet about his impending decision, he has been linked to several teams such as the Wizards, Lakers and now, even the Golden State Warriors.
As the 27-year-old small forward enters free agency, he is widely expected to agree to a one-year extension with the Thunder and re-enter free agency next year. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports claims that "Durant wants to win a championship immediately, which counts out the Lakers and Wizards. And if Oklahoma City can't get past Golden State, Durant may adopt a 'can't beat 'em, join 'em'-type attitude and sign with the Warriors."
In an appearance on Fox Sports Radio, Wojnarowski further said that the Los Angeles Lakers, who were previously reported to be Durant's possible destination, are not front-runners for signing the Thunder star even if they secure the number one overall draft pick. "Durant doesn't care if they (Lakers) have the first pick, the second pick, third pick; no free agent cares. No free agent of his stature cares what draft pick a team has because that guy is not going to help them win championships in the next two or three years," Wojnarowski explained.