Anderson Varejao played more than 70 playoff games with LeBron James the first time James was a Cavalier — and he stayed in Cleveland for the four years LeBron went to “college” in Miami. Varejao was there when James came back, too. James may be the face of the Cleveland franchise, but Anderson Varejao has been its heart — the steady beat that makes something live, even when no one’s paying attention. (The way no one paid attention to Cleveland while James was in Miami.) But a look down the Cleveland bench won’t find Varejao there anymore. After 11 years — good and ugly — with the Cavaliers Varejao plays for another team as of February. They’re called the Golden State Warriors — heard of ’em?
Yup, Varejao is the first player in the history of the NBA to have played on both teams in the NBA Finals during the same year. Will he reveal secrets he knows about Cleveland to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr? Nah, Kerr has seen this movie before. (He just hopes it ends the same way.) Varejao was moved in order to make room for Channing Frye, who took some of Kevin Love’s minutes in Toronto during two Cavs losses. Varejao is averaging less than 5 minutes a game for the Warriors during the playoffs. Frye is averaging almost 16 per for Cleveland. Frye’s probably a better player now than Varejao is. But can the Cavaliers win without their heart? Probably, if their face (James) continues to look this good.