Saturday, September 03, 2005

Varejao blow

Injuries happen in the NBA, just about every team has to deal with them. Usually when a bench player goes down it isn't viewed as serious. In the case of Anderson Varejao, the affect is more wide-ranging.

Losing Wild Thing hurts the Cavs on a number of fronts. They are now suddenly thin in the frontcourt, with really only three big men on the roster: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Donyell Marshall and Drew Gooden. Based on what I saw in summer league, I'd be surprised if Martynas Andruiskevicius could really contribute anything this season. This means they not only must must another big man, maybe even two, they are going to have to stick with Drew Gooden for the foreseeable future.

At this point in time, I still think Gooden, unless he has a totally gonzo season, will be traded at some point. He's in the last year of his contract and he'll be restricted next summer. With Marshall under a long-term deal and Varejao looking like he's the power forward of the future, I don't see the Cavs investing millions into Gooden. I stress the "this point in time" reference, because things in the NBA are always changing.

I don't think you'll see Varejao until after the New Year and perhaps not back to his old self until around the All-Star break in February. It is unfortunate this happened while Varejao was playing for his national team, which is why owners like Mark Cuban have said NBA teams shouldn't allow their players to play in offseason international competition. But even Cuban has to yield, Dirk Nowitzki is playing for the German national team. It is just a bad-luck situation.

When I first saw Varejao play during training camp last season I knew he was special but I was worried he'd be injury prone because of the way he plays. Even though that hasn't really stopped Manu Ginobilli yet. Andy's had a couple injuries now, but haven't been because of his frantic style. Last season's sprained ankle was freak injury, I know because I saw it. This injury, I'm told, was as well.

Anyway, the point is before, the Cavs really needed a point guard and wanted another big. Now they have two rather glaring needs and the pickings are slim.

Obviously the Cavs chances of landing Damon Jones were damaged when Michael Finley signed with the Spurs this week. It is explained why here. Then there came the worse news on Friday when Earl Watson signed with Denver Nuggets. Not bad news because Watson is off the market, the Cavs talked to him but he didn't really fit, but because reports are that he got a contract starting at $5 million.

In my opinion, that's crazy money for a career backup. From Cavs perspective, it might lead the Heat to overpaying Damon Jones after all. The Cavs only really hope on getting Jones at this point is if the Heat lowball him. Now, I think that's probably less likely.

Enjoy Labor Day weekend, all.
Brian