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Published: Thursday, 7/9/2009

Cavaliers reach deals with Varejao, Parker

BY BRIAN WINDHORST
(CLEVELAND) PLAIN DEALER

CLEVELAND - The Cavaliers have made their big moves in free agency.

After making a splash by trading for Shaquille O'Neal, the Cavs have come to terms with one of their core players and are close to adding a key piece.

The Cavs have agreed on a new contract with forward Anderson Varejao, agent Dan Fegan said Wednesday. In addition, a league source said the Cavs have come to terms on a deal for free agent guard Anthony Parker. He could complete the that deal within the next few days.

Varejao, the team's versatile big man who became a starter last season, is set to get a six-year contract that could be worth as much as $50 million.

"Andy wanted to stay in Cleveland," Fegan said. "He feels there is unfinished business ' to win an NBA championship."

Varejao had interest from several teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder, and other potential sign-and-trade offers from other teams without salary-cap space. Fegan said several teams were willing to offer Varejao contracts that averaged $10 million per season.

But he and the Cavs were able to construct a deal to keep Varejao over the last week, a significant step after the two sides were unable to reach a deal in 2007 that led to a holdout. The deal will also keep Varejao's cap number to a little more than $7 million in the 2010-11 season, which could still allow the Cavs to be players in free agency next summer depending on where the salary cap goes.

Varejao is coming off the best season in his career when he started 42 games and averaged 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds. His value is deeper than those numbers because he can play both power forward and center. In addition, his quickness makes him effective in pick-and-roll defense and in how the Cavs use their defensive rotations.

Parker, 34, played for the Toronto Raptors for the last three seasons after starring in Europe. The 6-6 wing averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point range.

He fills a major need the Cavs have for a tall wing player and was one of the team's top off-season targets at the position. They have been in talks with him since the first day of free agency. They talked to the Raptors about a sign-and-trade but when Toronto decided to sign Hedo Turkoglu, the Cavs moved on to deal with Parker directly.

Parker is an athletic player who is effective at creating his own shot, which he did often in Europe when he became the Euroleague Most Valuable Player, and as a spot-up shooter. He has also been an effective defensive player guarding tall wing players, which is what the Cavs most need.

Over the last three seasons he's started 226 of 235 games but may come off the bench for the Cavs behind Delonte West.

He is the brother of former University of Tennessee and current Los Angeles Sparks' star Candace Parker.

The Cavs will be starting play in the Vegas Summer League this weekend and will play six games over the 10-day event. Both draft picks from last month, first-rounder Christian Eyenga and second-rounder Danny Green, are set to play. Cavs roster players Darnell Jackson, Jawad Williams and Tarence Kinsey are also slated to be on the team. J.J. Hickson may spend time there doing some rehab, but is not expected to play as he recovers from a back injury. The rest of the team's summer league roster is expected to be released soon.



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