CLEVELAND Anderson Varejao will play for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, after all.
The Cavaliers matched the Charlotte Bobcats' $17 million, three-year offer sheet for the restricted free agent Wednesday, ending a contract dispute and giving injury-depleted Cleveland some much-needed help.
"His size, his athleticism, his strength, his knowledge, all that stuff yes, it's an added bonus," coach Mike Brown said before Cleveland's game at the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers had a week to match the offer sheet or lose the 6-foot-10 Varejao to the Bobcats.
They didn't take nearly that long. Cleveland's decision came only a day after Charlotte and Varejao agreed to terms and a day after the Cavaliers' fourth straight loss. That included going 0-3 without LeBron James (sprained index finger).
Brown criticized his team's lack of effort Tuesday in a 100-79 loss to New Jersey, something Varejao should be able to help improve.
"We're looking forward to getting him in Cleveland and getting him back on the basketball court," Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said. "He's a player we respect and admire, and he'll help us become a better basketball team."Varejao isn't much of a scorer, but the 25-year-old, mop-haired Brazilian known for his energetic defense should help the Cavaliers regain their intensity on the court. A fan favorite, Varejao averaged a career-best 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season as the Cavaliers reached the NBA finals for the first time.
KNICKS WITHOUT MARBURY, CURRY: The New York Knicks were without starters Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry Wednesday night for their game against the New Jersey Nets, who were without All-Star Jason Kidd.
Kidd, who has often excelled against the Knicks since his trade to New Jersey in 2001, was not in uniform because of a migraine.
Marbury wasn't at the Knicks' morning shootaround at their training facility three days after his father died during the team's home loss to Phoenix. However, coach Isiah Thomas had left open the possibility that his point guard might travel to New Jersey.Curry sprained his left ankle during the morning shootaround.
Trial delayed: The trial of Indiana Pacers players Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels stemming from a bar fight almost a year ago was delayed until Jan. 14.
Defense attorney James Voyles confirmed the new date Wednesday. The trial was to have begun Monday, but Voyles requested the delay, the second since September, because the Pacers play at Cleveland on Tuesday.