The Golden State Warriors have signed post Anderson Varejao after days of speculation, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. ESPN's Marc Stein later confirmed the deal, adding that he has agreed to sign for the veterans minimum.
The deal is mutually beneficial as Varejao reportedly wanted to sign with a contender and the Warriors are in dire need of a rotation big with Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and James Michael McAdoo all out for an uncertain amount of time due to injury. While Draymond Green has shown the ability to fill in admirably at center — most notably last night against L.A. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, prompting some to wonder whether he really is the league's best option at the five spot — the Warriors were in search of a true post option to reduce the number of minutes he needed to play in the post.
Andy Varejao has reached agreement with the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell The Vertical.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 22, 2016
ESPN sources say Anderson Varejao has indeed finalized his expected deal with Golden State at the veteran minimum for the rest of the season— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 22, 2016
Anderson Varejao just sent me this message on agreeing to a deal with Warriors. pic.twitter.com/Un72cjMYdw— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 22, 2016
In order to accommodate the signing of Varejao, the Warriors have released Jason Thompson, who has played just 179 minutes this season and never really proved worthy of more minutes than that.
The Warriors cut forward Jason Thompson to make roster room for Anderson Varejao, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 22, 2016
With Warriors waving Jason Thompson, and using stretch provision, he will count nearly $900K on the cap for next 3 seasons (after this one)— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) February 22, 2016
Jason Thompson had $2.65m guaranteed for 2016-17. Warriors can stretch $883,333 over the next 3 seasons (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19).— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 22, 2016
Best basketball move. If JThompson is any good, there would've been no need for Varejao. But there was. https://t.co/RVN7wXWUZf— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 22, 2016
In a round-about way, the Warriors have turned David Lee into Anderson Varejao with reduced tax penalties and that's generally a plus move.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 22, 2016
I would like to preemptively congratulate Anderson Varejao on his first championship. My guess is JT will not get a ring by year's end— Jim Park (@SheridanBlog) February 21, 2016
$1m cost for Golden State by adding a player off waivers, $725k of taxes plus $289k in salary. Would still need to waive a player.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 21, 2016
While nobody is anticipating Varejao to dramatically improve the Warriors, the 6-foot-10 Brazilian post gives the Warriors another big body who can fill space for limited minutes to relieve Green and reduce the pressure on forward Marreese Speights to perform as a defender. We can dig into his (declining) stats later, but suffice it to say that the main goal should be to use Varejao as a stopgap until Bogut and Ezeli can return in the postseason.
The next step is to figure out the exact financial implications, which aren't actually just as simple as accounting for Thompson's salary
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News elaborated on what waiving Thompson means at length this morning prior to the deal being reported. Although there were a few candidates to be waived, seldom-used post Jason Thompson immediately stood out as the one that made the most sense to release.
The only complication is that Thompson is guaranteed another $2.6M next season, but the Warriors can use the stretch provision if they waive him now, which would spread that cap charge over the next three seasons, instead of just one. (Thanks to Eric Pincus for the better info.)
The Warriors almost certainly were/are going to do this anyway with JThompson after this season; Ezeli’s injury plus Bogut’s question mark plus McAdoo’s injury just made the roster spot become more important now.
This is also important for… you guessed it… the chase for Kevin Durant next summer. Stretching JThompson’s number down to 867K next season is one part of the Warriors’ path to clear maximum cap space.
The second consideration in determining the full cost of signing Varejao are Andrew Bogut's bonuses.
The Varejao final tax implication will depend on if Andrew Bogut hits his bonuses at the end of the season. https://t.co/TSu2O2d6Do— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 22, 2016
It remains to be seen how much better this will actually make the Warriors, but for now we can certainly say that it gives them a veteran presence with playoff experience who, "...can lean on low-post scorers and maybe block a shot here or there at the rim in help D", as Kawakami described it.
Mostly, he can't be much less effective than Thompson.