Injuries to Varejao and Gibson Lead to Several Off-season Questions

Anderson Varejao

Anderson Varejao wants to come back. Daniel Gibson may not have a choice.

The only two members of the Cleveland Cavaliers who wore Wine and Gold during the 2007 NBA Finals could realistically spend the last month of the 2011-12 NBA season in street clothes. The veterans, both who would be labeled as “cagey,” are nursing two completely different injuries — Varejao, a wrist fracture; Gibson, a torn tendon — but both have the chance to cause additional pain to the team’s season-end win total. In lockstep, both players also provide the Cavaliers with some questions that only themselves will be able to answer.

Having blown through the four-to-six-week timetable for return from a wrist fracture sustained on February 10, Anderson Varejao is hoping that the next month will provide considerably improved health. The Brazilian big man won’t even see the practice court until the first or second week of April with an updated timetable being provided subsequent to his progress. Many Cavalier fans have been clamoring for the fan favorite to stick to the designer suits for the remainder of the season, helping not only guarantee full recover for the 2012-13 slate, but also the potential for a better draft pick come this June. 

The Cavaliers, however, will have multiple plates to spin with regard to Varejao’s future. Not only does the Colatina native want to suit up for his home country in the upcoming summer Olympic games, but he continues to be Chris Grant’s largest human asset this side of the rookie river. Even when injured, multiple teams inquired about Varejao’s availability as the power forward-center was in the midst of his finest season as a professional. Requiring a king’s ransom in counterparty compensation, opposing general managers were kindly told “thanks, but no thanks.”

Varejao will turn 30-years old this September. A player of his skill set is undoubtedly fun to watch. His off-box score effect cannot be overstated. But 30 years is 30 years and back-to-back seasons with extensive injuries, albeit both of the “freak” nature,” will not serve to bolster any trade value going forward. Simple time-value of money calculations would tell us that Varejao’s value to another franchise declines with each additional day he is a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This value, however, may not even come close to rivaling that of his effect on the younger members of the team — after all, his energy is “contagious.”

Gibson, conversely, provides the Cavaliers front office with a bit of a different dilemma. Like Varejao, the fiery guard has had his run-in with the injury bug over the course of the last few seasons. In 2010-11, Gibson missed time with injuries to his ankle, shoulder and thigh, while missing considerable time due to “personal reasons.” This season, Boobie has already missed several weeks with a mysterious infection of his neck tissue, one that had multiple setbacks and essentially left the team relatively high and dry for several games after a release of swingman Mychel Thomspon. But unlike his Brazilian teammate, Gibson’s $4.8 million contract for next season is not only a team option, but it is not fully guaranteed.

With only $32 million on the books for next season — including Gibson’s contract — and four draft selections at their disposal this summer, the front office could conceivably opt to reallocate Boobie’s unguaranteed allotment elsewhere. Chris Grant has already said that the team plans to extend surprising swingman Alonzo Gee beyond this season; the Cavs are also expected to be relative players in the free agent market.

In Vail to receive a second opinion on his left ankle, Gibson could require surgery which would put an end to his season as there is just one month of regular season basketball remaining. While his defense has improved mightily since the arrival of Byron Scott, one has to wonder how his relative drop-off in shooting (Gibson’s biggest strength, by far) this season will play in to any decision that the team makes about his future.

There is no question that Byron Scott’s defense has taken a hit given the injuries with which this team has been forced to deal. Earlier this week, Scott said that his team is not communicating, and those that are able to communicate quickly and effectively for an entire are the veterans. It’s safe to say that a couple of those veterans are currently taking up a couple of the spots on the team’s current inactive list.

But the spots Varejao and Gibson take up come this time next season, these will be the bigger questions.

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

  • Boomhauertjs

    Time to let Boobie go. If he’s not shooting it well, he’s not worth much to this team.

  • Chris Gillespie

    The Cavs need to sort out the backup PG position in the off-season and I don’t see the answer as Gibson because he isn’t effective enough handling the ball.

  • Harv 21

    I respect Boobie’s defensive effort and improvement. But he’s just a guy, a fragile back-up with a limited skill set. He’s in his prime and doubtful he’ll get sturdier or much better.

    Re Andy, thought we’d already exhausted that topic. My opinion is that with a league-wide shortage of bigs and his good contract he’s more valuable to us than anything we’d get in return. Unless as trade bait to move up and draft Anthony Davis (yes, kidding).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Gibson’s departure has been long overdue.  He should have been the one let go not Shannon Brown and I’m not even a Brown fan I just like players who aren’t one dimensional.  I give Gibson credit though he turned one playoff series into $$$ with somehow maintaining job security and the love of fans. 

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think Gibson is still an asset as a bench player.  He’s the kind of guy that every successful team has coming off the bench (provided that he can shoot 3-pointers with the kind of accuracy he had for most of this season before getting hurt).  The Bulls have Korver, the Heat have James Jones (or Mario Chalmers if you prefer… he’s not starter-quality even though he starts), the Mavs have Jason Terry, the Lakers had Ariza when they won their titles, etc.  I think Boobie can be that guy on a championship team, but the Cavs just need to put a lot more around him.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh no not Jason The Jet Terry he can play.  Ariza just went for the ride for a title but he could at least play some D.

    Well the Cavaliers have two of those players in Gibson and Parker.  I’d be happy to see ‘em both replaced.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I agree that both guys offer more than Gibson, but my point is that you need a shooter off the bench… absolutely.

  • eldaveablo

    I want to agree with this, as I like Gibson’s shooting and perimeter D. The thing that concerns me most is his injury problem. Dude just can’t stay healthy, and it’s not like he’s logging huge minutes or plays a physical game. 

    His skills go to waste when he’s in a suit on the bench – which seems to happen an awful lot. 

  • Vindictive_Pat

    If we want to get rid of Gibson that’s fine, but we need to replace him with someone who can hit 3-pointers.  That’s my only point… the thing that’s killing the Cavs right now other than lack of talent is the fact that teams can just cram everyone into the middle and dare us to shoot it from deep.  You have to have someone who forces the other team to extend their defense.

  • eldaveablo

    Very true. I would like a Gibson-type-player, only one that stays healthy. With 4 picks in the draft, maybe they can snag a shooting specialist they can bring off the bench?

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Fair enough… any shooters in the draft who you particularly like as a late first-rounder or second-rounder?  I like Andrew Nicholson as a stretch 4 with our late first-round pick and/or John Jenkins in the 2nd round. 

  • mgbode

    stupid Casspi was supposed to be that guy

  • mgbode

    i just had heart trauma thinking about the Cavs using an early 2nd rounder on Buford.   Nooooooooooooooo!!!

  • BrownsFanSF

    On the Andy subject, I think there is some seriousness in there too.  If we end up in the 5-7 range pick-wise, I can see Andy being in a package to get us into the MKG (assuming he comes out) or Beal range.  Our early first, Andy and Boobie (with our late first if we have to) may put us in play there.

    Yup, we’re talking draft day trades before the playoffs even started lol

  • Vindictive_Pat

    He sure was… we got the better end of the deal with the way Hickson imploded this year (cue the guy who thinks I’m being hard on JJ), but Casspi was at least supposed to be a good shooter.  He missed so many open 3-pointers this year, it was staggering.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    He sure was… we got the better end of the deal with the way Hickson imploded this year (cue the guy who thinks I’m being hard on JJ), but Casspi was at least supposed to be a good shooter.  He missed so many open 3-pointers this year, it was staggering.

  • BrownsFanSF

    But we almost traded him for…. I kid :-).  

    You’re spot on, Hickson for Casspi is a wash, pick means we win.

    I wonder if anyone keeps stats on 3 pt percentage for “open” threes.  Omri has to be near the bottom of the league for guys who attempt more than 2 or so 3s a game.  Word is he is shooting better though, I fortunately haven’t watched much of the losing streak

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Did a quick peek at his stats, and he did shoot the 3 better in the month of March.  Shooting 36.4% in March as opposed to 27.9% in February.  He’s 1-8 over the past 3 games though… streaky guy. His splits say that he loves to shoot the 3 at home (35.8%) and hates to shoot it on the road (27.1%)

  • mgbode

    if we are around 7/8 and Portland is sitting there at #4 w/ Beal on the table, then I could see this happening.

    the question would be is Beal > Andy+J.Lamb?

  • mgbode

    I remember all those stats from the offseason how he was among the best in the NBA at the corner-3.   still waiting on that one.

    hopefully, when he’s a pure 2nd unit guy next season he’ll be able to come in and shoot a bit better.  36% 3pt guy is acceptable.  28%3pt guy is not (especially when that is “your skill”)

  • BrownsFanSF

    I’d be interested to see film from the Sac years, his stroke just never looks smooth.  I wonder if it is discomfort or if it always looked like that.

    And if shooting is what keeps you in the NBA, you better be a 40% guy. Luckily I think Omri gives us a little more than that (sprite commercials!).

  • BrownsFanSF

    Tough one, I think that J. Lamb and 82 games of Andy is better.  But, what about J. Lamb and 40-50 games (for a full year salary) of Andy.  This starts to be a very hard question.

    Luckily Grant gets to lose sleep over these questions, not me.  I do love watching Andy do his thing.

  • mgbode

    yes, he also gives us a more Jewish fans :)

  • mgbode

    also, we have to factor in what do we do to replace Andy.  we are also losing Jamison to our frontcourt this offseason.

    I think I’d rather have Lamb and Andy.  But I’d take MKG over them if he somehow dropped.

  • BrownsFanSF

    As far as “team role” I’d see Beal as kinda the replacement for Jamison, maybe even more efficient.

    As far as replacing Andy, there are what, maybe 10 true centers walking the earth right now (Howard, Bynum, M. Gasol, Chandler, Noah, Hibbert, Nene, Gortat/Nash (Nash gets half the credit here), Monroe and Big Al are the ones I can think of).  Replacing him is very hard.