When I first heard that the deal was 6 years, $50 million, I almost started crying. We are just now crawling out of the deep dark Larry Hughes/Ben Wallace hole that Ferry dug for us 5 years ago. Why on earth would we jump right back into it? That was my first thought. I don't have any problems with Varejao as a player. He's big, he plays a position that's tough to fill, he doesn't usually disappear in big games against physical teams like some other key Cavs tend to do, and most importantly, Lebron likes to play with him. With that being said, if Fegan had actually pulled 6 years and $50 million out of the Cavs, he should've made Varejao sign it wearing a ski mask. In spite of all his hustle and grit, Varejao is still and always will be a very limited player best suited to be a sixth man. He'll probably never average more than 10 pts or 10 boards a game or have a PER over 15. I doesn't matter how much "energy" a guy brings . . . you don't give him 6 years and $50 million for those numbers. It's just too hard to make $8.5 million dollars worth of annual impact when you're virtually useless at one end of the floor.
So, now we know that Varejao's deal is really 6 years, $42 million, with the final year only partially guaranteed. If that's the case, in reality, it's a 5 year deal worth roughly $35 million with the final year allowing allowing the Cavs to cut bate or use Varejao as a very attractive trade piece. Is that still overpaying? Yes. In this market, $7 million a year is a little too much for a guy like Andy, and 5 years is way too long (keep in mind, guys like Artest are only getting a few years at the MLE this summer). Let me ask you this: Who was the last non-superstar that you can think of who signed for 5+ years and who ended up working out well for his team? Usually, long-term deals for non A-listers just don't end well. This could very well be the case with Varejao.
With all of that being said, there is still another side to the story. At this point in the offseason, they HAD to re-sign Varejao. There may not have truly been a market for his services, but if Ferry had called Fegan's bluff and been wrong . . . DISASTER. I highly doubt there were really any serious suitors out there offering any more than the MLE, but then again, it only takes one. We can bitch and moan about overpaying by a couple extra million a year, or giving him 5 years instead of 3 or 4, but how would we have felt if Fegan, out of spite, had inked Andy to a deal with a team like Oklahoma City? We would've all laughed at OKC's stupidity for signing a guy that can't really help them win, but at the same time, where would that leave us? With a bunch of frontcourt players that need oxygen tanks to move around, that's where. As much as we, and I include myself in this, love to play armchair negotiator, it's a lot more difficult when you're actually across the table staring at the prospect of having to make your title push with your youngest rotational big man being 34. Yes, the Cavs held most of the negotiating cards because there could've only been a couple of teams out there that could have even possibly given Varejao more than the MLE. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the Cavs had to be careful with this one. They could not lose Varejao for this year or it would've been ballgame for the Lebron era. Do I think Ferry overpaid given what the market is bearing these days? Yes. In a world where Ron Artest is only getting $5.8 million a year, Varejao can't really be worth $42 million. Still, the contract is a little bit more justifiable when you consider the way it's structured and the dangerous game that the Cavs were playing.
So, in conclusion, my feelings are that the deal is probably too long by a year, that the Cavs overpaid by about $1-$2 million a year, but that overall, I can live with it as opposed to the alternative.
One final thought: My buddy Rick once described Varejao's appearance as follows: "He looks like he should be waiting in line for a gang bang while trying to get a boner with a needle sticking out of his arm." Look at the picture for this post. Could there be a more perfect description of Varejao's physical appearance?
Anthony Parker probably doesn't fulfill anyone's wildest dreams for the Cavs this offseason. He's a slightly long in the tooth wing that can shoot a little bit and can add some perimeter scoring but is not a great player on the defensive end. If given a real choice, I would've much rather had a player like Josh Childress, who can really shut down an opposing 2-guard or small-forward, than a guy who is merely serviceable on that end of the floor. Still, depending on what the Cavs gave Parker, as long as there's still enough left to sign another big man like Channing Frye, I can live with it. Keep in mind, this team won 66 games last year with the minutes that will now be played by Parker going to the likes of Sasha Pavlovic and Wally Szczerbiak's corpse. It may not be a gigantic upgade but at least the 09-10 Cavs will have the ability to insert a backcourt player who is over 6'1, moves better than a WNBA center, and is not basketball-retarded.
I'll talk more about this later, but there really isn't a single guy that was out there in free agency this year that the Cavs genuinely had a chance to sign that has signed elsewhere for an enviable dollar amount. Artest was never coming here so long as the Lakers would have him. Neither was Villanueva so long as he could get more than the MLE elsewhere. Trevor Ariza for 5 years at the full midlevel? I'll pass. Jason Kidd for three years, $25 million? I'm laughing. Diva Marion for five years at the full midlevel? Let me know how that works out for you Dallas.
I know in a sense, I'm trying to talk myself into this, but if the Cavs could somehow fill out their roster with Channing Frye, you might even be able to say that the they had a decent offseason, all things considered. I would've liked for them to have taken serious runs at some of the restricted guys like Marvin Williams, Millsap, and Childress, but my guess is that any offer sheet for those guys is getting matched anyway, and that's why other teams haven't been sniffing around (If one of those guys leaves for the MLE, I'm going to be very pissed).
One last thing: The Magic apparently just finegled themselves into the Marion deal so that they ended up getting a massive trade exception for Turkoglu. That's not good since apparently, Orlando is flush with all that pyramid scheme cash and prepared to pay a ton in luxury taxes if need be.
That's all for now. Time to go to work.