Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ways to Alienate a Fan Base

1. Move a storied franchise to Baltimore, bolting to take the money.
2. Stab a blind man in the back, bolting to Utah to take the money.
3. Leave town after implying that you will stay with the team that brought you up, bolting to Philadelphia to take the money.
4. Play hard, fill a valuable role on an up-and-coming team with one of the brightest stars to ever grace a basketball court, then conceive a greatly exaggerated feeling of self-worth, hold out indefinitely.

Anderson Varejao now comes clean to ESPN.com on exactly how he feels.

'It's gotten to the point that I don't want to play there anymore. I'm just hoping for a sign-and-trade at this point. . . . I'm willing to go and play in Europe if that's what it takes. I know it's a risk and I'll be a restricted free agent next year, but at least I'd be happy. I don't think I'll be happy in Cleveland knowing that I was the lowest-paid player there for three years and am still paid much less than players on the team that I outperform. Life's too short to be unhappy.'
Guess what, Anderson? Second round draft picks sign low deals, often non-guaranteed. If you play well, and a team will pay you your worth. Varajao wants a sign-and-trade. As Brian Windhorst points out, that is extremely unlikely at this point in the season. The Cavaliers are certainly not going to sign a one-year deal with a disgruntled player who will certainly leave after a year with low contract. And it's starting to look to me like Anderson is precisely the kind of player who will, how do I say it?, not post as good stats once he signs that big deal. He already turned down a reported $6.4 million ($32 million over 5 years) from the Cavs, some sources have said he wants $10 million.

And somehow Anderson and his agent both don't realize that no team in the NBA will pay him that. So what we might see is a sign-and-trade that can be worked out under the cap, with the Cavs getting 60 cents on the dollar for Anderson. Because he doesn't want to play for the fans he "loves", with the teammates he "loves", for a mere $6 million per year.