NEWS

Cavaliers notebook: Varejao's holdout status could change soon

Chris Beaven

Another night of playing short-handed basketball awaited the Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

All-Star forward LeBron James missed his third straight game, one of four injured Cavaliers. And, of course, forward Anderson Varejao remained a holdout into his third month away from the team.

But the latter situation could change soon.

Varejao, a restricted free agent, reportedly signed a three-year offer sheet with the Charlotte Bobcats. The Cavs have a week to match the deal or lose Varejao, a key member off the bench during last year’s run to the NBA Finals.

Indications are the Cavs will match the offer, though the team offered no official comment before Tuesday’s game with New Jersey.

Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry told The Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday they would decide after they received the document from the Bobcats.

“It will probably arrive (Wednesday), and then we will make the appropriate decision,” Ferry said.

The deal is reported to be worth just more than $17 million and includes an option that allows Varejao to opt out of it after two seasons and become an unrestricted free agent.

Last week, Varejao told espn.com he “wanted to come back” to Cleveland, but because of others there, “it’s gotten to the point that I don’t want to play there anymore.”

Varejao declined a couple of offers from the Cavs during training camp, including a six-year, $52 million deal and a one-year, $1.2 million qualifying offer. The latter contract would have made him an unrestricted free agent this summer.

A former second-round pick, Varejao averaged 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season. His numbers during the playoffs were an even 6 points and six rebounds. Beyond numbers, though, he brings energy and defensive intensity to the team.

The Cavs have struggled defensively throughout the season, with an assortment of injuries also causing them problems.

Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown said Ferry “briefed” him on the situation with Varejao. When asked if he thought Varejao would return soon, Brown said he hoped so.

“He’s a talented player; he’s a great guy ... but again Danny’s got to get all that stuff squared away,” Brown said.

JAMES OUT, BROWN IN  With James a spectator for the third straight game because of a sprained left index finger, second-year guard Shannon Brown made his first start of the season. Brown appeared in just four of the first 18 games, playing 39 minutes. He is averaging 5.3 points on 7-for-24 shooting from the floor. The 6-foot-4 former Michigan State star scored 5 points in five minutes Sunday against Boston, making a 3-pointer and committing no turnovers. “He played extremely well,” Head Coach Mike Brown

said. “I thought he came in and played within himself offensively, and defensively, he was solid.”

Reach Repository sports writer Chris Beaven at (330) 580-8345 or e-mail: chris.beaven@cantonrep.com