Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cavs Re-Sign Varejao, Sign Parker

We'll have more coverage of this over the weekend but I wanted to post some immediate thoughts on these signings:


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:

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.


Anonymous said...

Andy is young, why are you saying it shoudl have been one year less? you are ok with paying him this money for the first 4 years, but all of sudden the 5th year is no good? please explain.

Biff said...

The longer the contract, the less flexibility you have, especially if something goes wrong (i.e. player suffers injury and is never the same, player loses a step, player wears out his welcome). Long contracts just aren't good for franchises unless the player being signed is elite. Think about it this way: What are the odds that Varejao's market value when he's 29 or 30 will be in excess of $8 million a year? Probably zero, right? There's little chance he will be a significantly better player in a few years than he is now, and if the market wasn't yielding more than that for a 26 year old Varejao, why would it yield more than that for a 30 year old Varejao. The more years you add on to a deal, the greater the likelihood that you will be overpaying the player in those last couple of years. On the flipside, there is very little risk in only signing a guy like Andy for 3 or 4 years because there's almost no chance that the market for his services will be better when he nears 30.

The difference between 4 years and 5 or 6 doesn't seem that big but it can be. Consider that if Andy signed a four year deal, 3 years from now, he would essentially be a tradeable asset as an expiring contract. That's a fairly quick turnaround. Having to wait 4 or 5 years to be in that situation isn't nearly as beneficial to the Cavs.

Again, not a horrible deal...just not a great one. I would have been much more comfortable with a shorter deal.

Anonymous said...

I see what your point is, explained well. My thoughts is that Andy has improved defensively and offensively every year since he has been with us, what makes you think he cant develop more in the next 5 years into a solid threat on both sides of the floor? He has done nothing but improve every year, and can see him avg 10-12 a night with 9 boards, maybe can turn into a double double guy too.

I agree with the point that the cavs needed him more than andy needed the cavs, we would have been screwed if we didnt get a deal done, so Ill take it.

Biff said...

I suppose you're right that theoretically, Varejao could continue to improve over the next few years, but I'm skeptical for a few reasons:

1) His offensive mechanics are absolutely atrocious. If a guy still shoots like that after 5 pro seasons and still does not have any semblance of footwork on the block, chances are, those things aren't just going to magically fix themsevles in years 6-11.

2) Time catches up to mobile big men in the NBA VERY quickly. Any improvements in Varejao's game that come as a result of an improved basketball IQ are likely to be offset by declining physical skills as he gets closer to 30. It only takes a mininmal loss of foot speed before Varajao can only defend two positions as opposed to 3 or 4.

3) He'll never play with a better cast for his game than he has over the past couple of years. Lebron plus a bunch of shooters is the ultimate cast to pair with an offensively limited pick and roll player like Varejao. Eventually, Lebron is either going to be gone (thus rendering Varejao both extremely expensive and extremely useless), or the Cavs are going to start playing other frontcourt players who are less complimentary to Varejao's game. See O'Neal, Shaquile. Do you think Varejao is going to be as effective with another player on the floor that doesn't have to be defended beyond 5 feet? I'm doubtful.

I think 10 and 8 is his ceiling. I suppose as long as he continues to be a solid versatle defender, I can live with that.

Rick Dog said...

Andy "AIDS" Varejao

Art Brosef said...

If Lebron is gone in two years Varejaos contract wont matter, because not only will he be rendered useless, the entire organization will be as well.

Anonymous said...

from his first year to now he has improved dramatically, his mechanics and footwork. It is not theoretical, it is fact he has improved some asset of his game every year and has given no indication of regression from year to year. Putting a cap of 10 and 8 for Andy is unfair to him as he shown every year his willingness to improve, strengthen, and boost numbers from the previous season.

Put a cap on players who have regressed, such as Z and boobie;not Andy.

Barry Lakin said...

I agree that he isn't a $7 million a year player. But I agree we couldn't lose him either. Overpaying pay 1 or 2 million isn't the worst thing in the world. As long as we have the cap room to sign Bosh next summer, it's all good.

I'm okay with the length of the contract. I like the idea of locking up good young talent. Yes, you lose trade flexability. But I am not worried about that with Andy. I couldn't stand to see him on any other team.

Barry Lakin said...

I agree that he isn't a $7 million a year player. But I agree we couldn't lose him either. Overpaying pay 1 or 2 million isn't the worst thing in the world. As long as we have the cap room to sign Bosh next summer, it's all good.

I'm okay with the length of the contract. I like the idea of locking up good young talent. Yes, you lose trade flexability. But I am not worried about that with Andy. I couldn't stand to see him on any other team.

Biff said...

I wouldn't hold my breath for Bosh . . . not when he can go to Miami and avoid state income tax or go to Chicago and be THE guy in a big market.

Barry Lakin said...

Don't kid yourself. Chicago will still be Rose's team. Bosh wouldn't be THE guy.

Bosh has been THE guy in Toronto his entire career. The chance for a guaranteed championship and the max contract available (outside of current team).

I never understood the argument that a young player wants to be THE guy. These guys play for two things in no particular order: 1) Money, 2) championships.

I'm not holding my breath for Bosh. It's already done in my book (unless somehow we could get a healthy Yao)

Art Brosef said...

Yes. Guaranteed championship. Just like the people who bet the cavs on this sites poll.

Biff said...

I think you've left a few things out in your rankings for young players: 1) Contract Money, 2) Endorsement Money, 3) Potential Business Opportunity Money, 4)Fame, 5) Nightlife, 6) Winning.

I'd say the odds of Bosh coming here are 1-35.

Barry Lakin said...

Obviously no championship is "guaranteed" but anyone who bet the Cavs this year were nuts. Beating the Magic was possible, but no way were we ever going to beat the Lakers.

Cleveland would be the best opportunity for Bosh to win a title. We would still have problems matching up with teams with big dominant centers, but you got to figure we'd be able to go head to head with LA with Bosh. Obviously no actual guaranteed championship.

Biff said...

Once again, we're not getting Bosh. Move on.

Cleve Balla said...

Yo we gon' get CP3 soon, tha werd on tha street is dat Paul will be traded. Tha Cavs coulda used a guy like dat He is a playmaka and would ball out Quicken Loans Arena. Cant wait fo' dis playa to help bring dat championship bling to Cleveland.