Cavs’ Varejao on return against Blazers: ‘I’m not going to forget this day’

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-45) lost their eighth straight game as they fell to the Portland Trailblazers(37-29) 141-105 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland ended their five-game homestand 0-5.

Damian Lillard had a game-high 32 points, including six threes for Portland. Kevin Love led the Cavs with 18 points. 

However, this night was about the return of Anderson Varejao. The 38-year-old Varejao, who signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers this week, had one point, six rebounds, and one assist in seven minutes against the Blazers. This was Varejao’s first action in over two years(played in Brazil), his first time playing with the Cavs since 2016, and his first time on an NBA court since 2017. 

Varejao spent the first 12 years of his career with the Cavaliers and kept a home in Cleveland after his time with the Cavs was over.

When he entered the game midway through the fourth quarter, Varejao got a rousing ovation from the Cavalier faithful. After the loss to the Blazers, Varejao reacted to his return to the NBA.

“It felt great to be out there again,” Varejao said. “As I said before, I love Cleveland; I love the fans. Once again, they gave me the support I needed tonight.

“It has been a while that I played five-on-five or any type of contact in basketball in almost two years, but it felt great to be out there. To be honest with you, I was really surprised the way I felt.”

The 13-year veteran was also happy to have his wife and young daughter watch him play on Wednesday night. 

“My family was at the game,” Varejao said. “That was just very special for me to have my wife and my little daughter, Serenee, she’s one years old. I’m not going to forget this day. This is the first time I played in front of my daughter. Special day for me.”

You have to feel happy for Varejao. Not many players get the opportunity to end their career where it started and the chance to play in front of their family. Varejao is getting all of that right now.

Cleveland hopes to break their eight-game losing streak in Dallas against the Mavericks on Friday night.

Cavs’ Varejão: ‘I can’t wait to join my teammates and be reunited with the fans’

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed center Anderson Varejão to a 10-day contract, the team announced on Tuesday.

Cleveland have been ravaged by injuries, and the team was granted a hardship exception by the NBA in order to acquire Varejão.

Varejão, 38, returns to Cleveland, where he spent his first 12 NBA seasons, appearing in 591 regular season games (208 starts) with averages of 7.6 points on .512 shooting from the field and 7.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes. The center from Brazil still ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders in offensive rebounds (fourth, 1,479), defensive rebounds (seventh, 2Varejão was also a member of Cleveland’s back-to-back 60-win teams (66-16 in 2008-09 and 61-21 in 2009-10) and six playoff teams (2005-2010, 2015), including the franchise’s first ever NBA Finals appearance during the 2007 Playoffs.

“For more than a decade, I was blessed to wear the Wine and Gold and play for the organization’s incredible fans, who inspired me to give everything I had during each and every play on a nightly basis,” said Varejão. “I am so excited to return to Cleveland and be back in a Cavaliers jersey, continuing to build memories and representing the city and franchise that I love so much. I am so very grateful to Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for this opportunity and am extremely thankful for the love and support from my wife, Stacy, and daughter, Serenee. I can’t wait to join my teammates and be reunited with the fans, both on and off the court.”

After a stellar career playing for F.C. Barcelona, which includes earning Brazilian League MVP honors in 2001-02, the 13-year veteran was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 30th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft before being acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade on July 23, 2004. He last played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors, appearing in 36 games during parts of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, as well as 17 postseason contests during the Warriors’ NBA Finals run in 2016. Following his stint with Golden State, Varejão played for Flamengo in the NBB (New Basketball Bazil) league in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and led the team to the 2019 NBB title.

Listen below as Varejao talks return to Cleveland: