I love Andy Varejao. No, really, I absolutely love Anderson Varejao. I have always loved Andy. We, Cleveland, remember Andy as a loose cannon who stole our hearts with every loose ball or tough rebound he chased. He embodied Cleveland to the fullest. Hustle and heart with a potential yet to be tapped. His floppy hair, boyish good looks, and good heart will always look best beneath the Wine and Gold. Sadly, for all of us, it’s time to let Andy go.
I can’t remember a situation like this in Cleveland in a very long time. A player so widely loved and cherished, and in his prime, who’s departure would be for the greater good of their team. It’s such a tough situation, one that we all wish wouldn’t have arisen. Let’s face it, these Cavaliers aren’t a very good basketball team as a whole. Their starters, including Señor Varejao, are great. The bench, however, is absolutely horrific. It’s like watching the varsity team start the game and get replaced by the middle school team. It’s atrocious and everyone knows it. The only way the Cavaliers are going to get better is if they add young talent, and eliminate whoever is on the bench. There are plenty of ways of doing this. They could continue on their current path, lose a bunch of games, and get yet another high lottery pick. They could trade Anderson Varejao and get a ton of value out of him, eliminating the current bench. They could even just tank and try to go for the first pick in the NBA draft. The situation in which the Cavs lose games is going to happen inevitably. The Cavs are going to lose a bunch of games. They are too young and inexperienced… oh, who am I kidding? If Kyrie and the starting bunch played all 48 minutes, this would be a playoff basketball team. The bench is going to forbid this team from winning games.
So how do you combat a bad bench? You add talent. How do you add the most talent if your the Cavaliers? In the draft and in trades. In this case, it comes at the cost of Anderson Varejao.
You see, while Andy is an incredible basketball player, it makes no sense for the Cavaliers to keep him. Do I want them to keep him? Absolutely. Does it make sense? Absolutely not.
Andy Varejao is at the prime of his career. He is thirty years old and, honestly, playing MVP caliber basketball. The problem is that his MVP caliber basketball isn’t helping the Cavaliers win games. If the Cavaliers were winning games, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. By the time the Cavaliers add talent through the draft, and hypothetically keep Wild Thing, his production will already be declining. He has about 2 years left of this kind of basketball, and who knows if he will even hold up for that long. He’s one of the more physical players in the NBA and it shows on his injury list. So here is Andy, at 32, playing decent basketball but declining in productivity and probably on the verge of retirement in another two or three years. I honestly wouldn’t care if Andy stayed in a Cavaliers uniform until he is in a wheelchair, but for the sake of the team, this is definitely not the best position to be in.
Here’s a much better view of what could be. Andy continues this kind of production until around the trade deadline. He continues to be an MVP candidate. The NBA has taken notice as to what a great asset to their team he would be. The GMs of some championship contenders give Chris Grant a call and offer draft picks and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, talent for the stunning Varejao. Cleveland mourns as Andy is sent packing, but Omri Casspi and Luke Walton are released to make room for the newcomers. Cleveland is in both a euphoric high and the lowest of lows thanks to Anderson’s departure.
In either case, I deem them both unrealistic. I don’t think Andy can keep his value for that long, and I don’t think the Cavaliers would be willing to keep him until he retires. The more realistic view is this: Andy continues to average a double double, closer to 10 and 10 rather than 15 and 15, and a contender comes calling. Chris Grant gets another draft pick and a talented bench player or two for Varejao. It’s a win/win/lose/lose situation. The Cavs start to eliminate the likes of Walton, Casspi, and Leuer, while strengthening their bench. Andy gets to play the best basketball of his career and compete for an NBA title. The Cavs fans don’t get to see Andy in their beloved wine and gold, and Andy doesn’t get to play at his first “home” in America any longer.
There is no situation in which everyone is happy. I wish their was, but Omri Casspi, Jon Leuer, Samardo Samuels, C.J. Miles, Luke Walton, Donald Sloan, and Luke Harangody suck so badly that they are ruining the fun for everyone. They’re making the team lose games and they’re forcing the Cavaliers to trade Andy. If there’s anyone to blame for this horrible situation it would be those guys. If I’m Byron Scott and I actually want to win games, no matter the cost, (Which is dumb, I don’t suggest it at all. You have to have a bench in this league and you have to play them.), I would have a rotation of Kyrie, Dion, Gee, Tristan, Varejao, Zeller, and Boobie. That’s it. There are only seven guys on this team who can help the Cavaliers play basketball. It just sucks.
Andy, if you’re reading this, which I’m sure you’re not, I love you and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given to the Cavaliers. You have have shined in the good times and suffered through the bad. You are the city of Cleveland in the form of a very large man. We love you. There isn’t a person in the city that would say there is not a place in their heart for you. However, for the best interest of the Cleveland Cavaliers, we have to let you go. Blame our sucky bench for their lack of productivity, that’s what I’m doing! You are playing the best basketball of your life, and although I know you would rather stay in Cleveland, you deserve to go help a team compete for a championship. I am going to relish the last few months you are wearing the wine and gold because those will be the best months of them all. I really hope the Cavs can find a way to keep you and to add talent to the bench. You bring so much to this city, this team, and these fans that to imagine you not being here, it hurts. You’re a bright light in a dimly lit sports town and without your light, it’s going to be really difficult to see. I wish you the best wherever you may end up, and Cleveland will surely never forget all that you did for us!
We love you Andy!
Let me know what you think! Would you rather see Andy stay in the Wine and Gold or would you rather see the Cavs get the most that they can out of him! You can comment below!
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove