Cavs extend C Anderson Varejao

CLEVELAND -- Best known for his wild hair and hustle, Anderson Varejao's heart and hard work got him a new contract with the Cavaliers.

Cleveland signed its starting center to a contract extension on Friday. A league source told ESPN's Brian Windhorst the deal is worth $9.6 million next season, $10.3 million ($9.3 million guaranteed) in 2016-17 and $10 million (nonguaranteed) in 2017-18.

Varejao was in the final year of a six-year contract he signed in 2008. He's making $9.7 million this season and would have been eligible to become a free agent this summer before the Cavs decided to lock him up for a few more seasons.

"I'm happy. I always said that I never wanted to leave Cleveland and that Cleveland was home for me," Varejao said Friday night after the team's 114-108 overtime win against the Bulls. "From the beginning when I got to Cleveland they really took care of me -- the fans, the city and everything. I'm happy. I'm happy that I got my extension. I'm happy that I got at least three more years in Cleveland."

"Congrats to him," said LeBron James, now in his second stint as Varejao's Cavs teammate, prior to Friday's win. "Obviously, he's worked hard. He's been loyal to this franchise, and they rewarded him with it because of his hard work and his dedication to the game. It's exciting for him, for sure. It allows him to [feel comfortable]. I know he already feels comfortable. He was in a few trade rumors last year, the year before and for him to be at this point right now, I think it's successful for him."

"I had a lot of people on my ears telling me that I should ask for a trade when we were going through the rebuilding process," Varejao said Friday. "It was tough, I'm not going to lie to you. It was tough to lose so many games. I went through some injuries and it wasn't fun. But I always told them, 'No, I'm not going to ask for a trade.' I'm not just saying that.

"You have no idea. I heard, 'You got to go somewhere else. You got to go somewhere else to try to help somebody else to win the championship. What are you doing in Cleveland?' And I always said, 'No, I want to stay here and I want to win here and I really feel that we're going to turn this around and we're going to have a good team again and we're going to have a chance to win.'"

Cavs general manager David Griffin praised Varejao's spirit both on and off the court.

"Anderson represents how this franchise wants to approach the game of basketball, both on the court and off," Griffin said.

"He has been a key part of our foundation for years and we are very happy that he will continue to be part of our Cavs family as we work toward our goals at the highest level.

"Andy is, and has been, a tireless worker, an incredible teammate and a great competitor that plays with a rare combination of energy and intensity that makes him truly special."

The 32-year-old Varejao has played in 536 games with Cleveland, averaging 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Brazilian has appeared in a franchise-record tying 71 postseason games. Varejao averaged 14.4 rebounds in 2012-13.

Varejao has always been one of James' favorite teammates. Varejao is the only player left on Cleveland's roster who played with James on the Cavs team that made the 2007 finals.

"We're all very, very happy in the organization," coach David Blatt said. "Andy is a valued member of this team and he's part of the fabric of Cleveland sports, and that's just a good news story all around."

The Cavs did not sign Tristan Thompson to a contract extension, meaning he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Thompson finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds (12 offensive), two assists and two blocks in Cleveland's win. Varejao chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and two assists in the victory.

Information from ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press was used in this report.