Bobcats Sign Cavaliers Holdout Varejao

Tuesday, December 4th 2007, 10:24 am
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - In need of a big man, the Charlotte Bobcats reached agreement Tuesday on a three-year offer sheet with Cleveland restricted free agent Anderson Varejao, giving the Cavaliers a week to match the deal or lose him. Financial figures were not available. Varejao's agent, Dan Fegan, could not immediately be reached.

The 6-foot-10 Varejao has been in a prolonged contract dispute with the Cavaliers, which has kept him sidelined this season. He said last week that he would prefer to be traded. The 25-year-old Varejao averaged 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season in helping the Cavaliers reach the NBA finals for the first time.

Bobcats coach Sam Vincent has been pleading for a big man since the beginning of the season. The Bobcats lost Sean May to season-ending knee surgery in training camp. Starting center Primoz Brezec has been ineffective and was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Jared Dudley Monday night in Toronto, the Bobcats' sixth straight loss.

Before training camp opened, Varejao turned down Cleveland's one-year, $1.2 million qualifying offer. If he had signed that deal, the former second-round pick could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

In late October, the Cavaliers rejected a six-year, $52 million package presented by Fegan.

Varejao is known for his energy and defense, and the move comes a day after Vincent
questioned his team's focus and preparation following the 98-79 loss to the Raptors.

The Bobcats, with 15 guaranteed contracts, will have to release a player to add Varejao if the Cavaliers don't match the offer.