Cavs fan favorite Varejão returns to join staff

CLEVELAND — Anderson Varejão has bounced back to the Cavaliers.

One of the most popular players in Cleveland’s history, Varejão has been hired as a player development consultant and global ambassador for the team that he played with for 14 NBA seasons.

Known for his hustle and frizzy hair, Varejão, affectionately nicknamed “Wild Thing” for his rambunctious playing style, was with the Cavaliers from 2004 to 2015. He spent two seasons with the Golden State Warriors before the center returned to Cleveland after a three-year break from the NBA. He retired after playing five games in the 2020-21 season.

Varejão had stayed connected to the organization, making periodic appearances at practices and games.

In his new role, Varejão will help develop players on the floor while also working with coaches and front office members during the season. The Brazilian will also travel to broaden the team’s global reach, especially in Latin America.

“Andy embodies all that the city of Cleveland stands for and beyond, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience, leadership and character back into the Cleveland Cavaliers family,” said Koby Altman, the Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations. “His infectious work ethic and commitment to our community have earned him his rightful place in the fabric of this organization and all of Northeast Ohio, and his impact on the game internationally will benefit our global outreach.”

The Cavaliers plan to honor Varejão with a halftime presentation during their Jan. 21 game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I am thrilled and honored once again to be a formal part of the Cavaliers family,” Varejão said. “This is a unique opportunity to start a new chapter of my life with the team I love and in the city I love.”

Varejão was a key member on two 60-win teams in Cleveland. He averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 596 games for the Cavaliers, who acquired him in a 2004 trade with the Orlando Magic. In 2012-13, Varejão averaged a career-best 14.4 rebounds per game, and he ranks in the top 10 in several offensive categories for the Cavaliers.

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