After a sometimes frustrating few months with the Warriors full of flopping and erraticism, Anderson Varejao just earned some major respect amongst Warriors fans.
Varejao played for both the Warriors and the Cavaliers last season, so he was entitled to a championship ring no matter the outcome of the NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers won, and although Varejao was offered a ring for his contributions to the team, he is not going to accept it, according to Sam Amico.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) July 17, 2016
I can’t honestly say that I’d do the same thing if I were in Varejao’s position. Championship rings are elusive symbols of supremacy in a league where there is no greater challenge than to overcome the adversity that lingers throughout a grueling NBA season to stand alone as the very best squad.
Varejao may not feel much of a connection anymore to the Cavs team that just beat his new team, but he still played a role in winning the regular season games that served as a foundation for their championship.
It’s a bold move, and sure to be one that rallies his teammates around him to try to get him a ring next season.
Having said that, perhaps Varejao thought it would be awkward to flaunt that ring amongst his Warriors teammates. Numerous players already have a ring from the season before, though, so the assumption that it would cause some type of rift seems overblown.
Anybody who would’ve blamed Varejao for accepting the ring is a bit misguided. If a player gets injured for the playoffs and can’t complete the run for the championship, does he not deserve a ring? Varejao may have been traded, but he was still a part of the team that eventually won the championship. Not all players are there at the end, but discrimination like that doesn’t take place in deciding who deserves rings or not.
It’s fascinating that Varejao decided to do this when legendary players like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Reggie Miller never got a ring in their careers.
Surely Varejao is aware of the elusiveness of winning a championship, but it also speaks volumes to his belief in this current Warriors team.
Maybe he’s quick to reject a ring he was only partially connected to because he’s so confident that he’ll get one next year as a member of the Warriors’ roster throughout the entire season.
In a league defined by instability, Varejao is making a big assumption if he isn’t considering the chance of not being on the Warriors come April of next year, though.
If he gets moved and the Warriors win the championship without him, I wonder if he’d reject a ring for a second consecutive year.
It was certainly a unique circumstance for him, though. Perhaps he didn’t want to accept the ring because he had the opportunity to win the Finals with the Warriors. Had he landed on a team that didn’t make the Finals, maybe he wouldn’t have that confliction.
Perhaps he didn’t want incentive removed for him on his quest for a ring, so he made the decision to only accept a ring from the Warriors in order to motivate himself to help the Warriors succeed.
This is going to be very sad for him if he ends up never winning a championship for the rest of his career. He’s going to turn 34 in September, and doesn’t have a significant amount of time left in this league.
His bold rejection of Cleveland’s offer is noble is some regards, but also unnecessarily risky. He should take the ring, and just try to add to his collection with the Warriors.