Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao (bruised knee) is listed as a game-time decision for the team's Friday night matchup against the Indiana Pacers, but head coach Byron Scott says he may rest the talented big man this weekend even if doctors provide clearance. Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com caught up with Scott at morning shootaround on Friday, and Scott revealed that he will have the final word on when Varejao returns to the court:
"I'm thinking about keeping him out no matter what," Scott said at Friday morning's shootaround. "I told him, even if they clear him, it will be my decision. He's going to have bumps and bruises," Scott said. "You just hope he stays away from the serious injuries. He's got a pretty bruised knee right now and we want to get that thing as healthy as possible."
The 30-year-old Brazilian big man is enjoying the best season of his NBA career in 2012, and his trade value has continued to rise. It's unclear whether the Cavaliers are looking to deal him to a contender in exchange for prospects or draft picks, but it's obvious that Varejao has a lot of value at the moment. He is posting career-high averages in points (14.1) and rebounds (14.4) per game, and he's pulling down an average of 5.5 offensive rebounds per contest. He also ranks in the top-5 among all NBA players for offensive and defensive rebound rates.
Varejao signed a six-year, $48 million contract with the Cavaliers in July of 2009, and he is owed roughly $19 million over the next two seasons.
He did not play on Wednesday when the Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics. This weekend, Cleveland will host the Pacers on Friday and then travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Saturday. Cleveland (0-7 vs. Central Division) is the only team in the Eastern Conference that has yet to win a divisional game, and New Orleans (0-3 vs. Southwest Division) is the only other NBA team winless in its own division.