ATLANTA (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao joined the Golden State Warriors on Monday, giving him a front-row seat for their 50th win of the season.
Varejao passed a physical and was in uniform, but did not play in a 102-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to reach 50 wins, doing it in their 55th game.
The Brazilian spent 12 seasons with Cleveland before being dealt last week to Portland in a three-team trade that sent Channing Frye from Orlando to the Cavaliers.
The Trail Blazers immediately cut Varejao, but things worked out just fine for him.
“I’m glad I came here,” Varejao said after the game. “I can tell they want a championship. That’s what it’s about.”
Golden State sought out another big man with starting center Andre Bogut nursing a strained right Achilles and key backup Festus Ezeli out until at least late March with an injured left knee.
Bogut was able to start against the Hawks, going 29 minutes. He had only three points but 11 rebounds.
Varejao provided some addition insurance for the defending champions.
“I chose to come here because of ... a great organization, very well coached, and special guys,” he said. “I’ve only been here for a couple of hours, but I can see this group, they love each other. That’s important.”
Coach Steve Kerr said he talked with former Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry about bringing in Varejao.
“He told me Anderson was one of his favorite players he’s had in the NBA as a player or a GM,” Kerr said. “That seems to be the dominant thought from anybody who’s been around him, so he’ll be great in our locker room and he’ll get a chance to play.”
Golden State waived forward Jason Thompson to make room for Varejao.