Sunday 21 January 2018 / 12:06 AM


Anderson Varejao is in an interesting predicament these Finals. As the first player in NBA history to play on both Finals teams in the same season, he could very well win a ring no matter the outcome of the series. The Cleveland Cavaliers icon was traded earlier this season to the Portland Trail Blazers, and eventually made his way to sign with the Golden State Warriors.

Varejao joined the Cleveland Cavaliers roster in 2004 and would spend 12 seasons with the team. During these 12 seasons, he became a household name for Cleveland fans and formed strong bonds with his teammates and staff.

Let’s think about what it meant to be a Cleveland Cavalier for the past 12 seasons. Even with a young LeBron James on deck it was still pretty rough being a Cavalier. Their 2007 appearance in the Finals ended with San Antonio sweeping them back into near oblivion. LeBron left in 2010 and the Cavaliers were then actually in oblivion.

Varejao, unwaveringly, was still there. LeBron came back in 2014 and led them to back-to-back Finals appearances. Varejao wasn’t able to play in the 2015 Finals due to his torn Achilles. This is 12 seasons of high loss seasons, of watching on the sidelines of the 2015 finals unable to play with injury, and hundreds of away games of getting obliterated on the road.

So what does Anderson Varejao get for his 12 loyal seasons through thick and thin with the Cavaliers? He was traded mid-February to the Trail Blazers, then waived, and is currently signed to the Warriors.

Such is the life of an NBA player. It was sad for many fans to see Varejao get traded, but this sadness was replaced by fury for some when he joined the Warriors. Cleveland fans sort of have trust issues after Lebron left them for Miami, so this is expected. If you’re Anderson Varejao and you are free to sign to any team, and the defending champions wanted him, what would you do? Hello Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.

Since Varejao has played 31 games for Cleveland and 33 games for Golden State this season, he could very well be in contention for a ring either way. For the obvious reasons if Golden State wins, and since he played with Cleveland for the majority of the season and his history with the organization.

Now, is the Cleveland Cavaliers organizations required to give Varejo a ring? Technically, no, since he isn’t on the postseason roster. This is one of those weird ‘what if?’ situations that the NBA doesn’t plan for; they just deal with it once it happens. My best guess is that Varejao getting a ring is going to be news for a couple days, but ultimately people will get back to bashing LeBron or making fun of Steph Curry for looking like a 12-year-old.

Whichever way the dice falls for Varejao, there are going to be some bitter teammates or ex-teammates. Imagine Cleveland winning the series 4-3 and Varejao starts jumping around high-fiving his old teammates. Now, imagine Golden State winning 4-3 and Varejao telling his former teammates “good game, sucks to suck”.

Either way, the 6’11 Brazilian big man is going to look out for what is best for him. Die-hard Varejao fans want to see Golden State win to give Varejao the biggest, “That’s what you get for trading me”, grin after holding a rebound in the closing seconds of a Warriors 4th-quarter lead in Game 7. Including the Warriors’ elimination of the Trail Blazers this season as well, Varejao might have the most productive spite victory season in the history of the NBA.

[YouTube – Ximo Pierto Final]

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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