Anderson Varejao spread word to friends that he was coming to the Warriors several hours before the team acknowledged any agreement, and a full day before he actually signed a contract.
The veteran forward/center was that excited and anxious to become the newest member of the defending champions, and his outlook remained bright after he joined them in Atlanta on Monday.
“I’m very excited to be here,” he told reporters in Atlanta, after the 102-92 win over the Hawks. “I’m very excited for the opportunity. I got to know the guys a little bit tonight and it’s a fun group.”
Varejao, 33, conceded that Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa, one of his teammates on the Brazilian National team, reached out with a recruiting pitch over the weekend. Barbosa, however, is not the only familiar face he saw upon arrival.
“I played with Marreese Speights, Barbosa, Shaun Livingston and Luke Walton,” Varejao said. "I know how special Steph (Curry) is, and Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) and (Andre) Iguodala – everybody.”
Varejao, 33, said that was among the reasons he chose the Warriors over several other teams that were interested once he cleared waivers Sunday and became a free agent.
“There were other teams ... but I chose to come here,” he said. “It’s a great organization, very well coached and with these special guys.
“... I’m glad I came here, because I can tell they love each other. That’s what it’s about. When you want to win, you have to be like they are. Friends that have fun out there, have fun in the locker room. I’ve been here for a couple hours, but I can tell. I can tell this group, they love each other.”
Varejao is in his 12th season and had spent his entire NBA career with the Cavaliers. His best season was 2012-13, when he was averaging 14.1 points and an NBA-best 14.4 rebounds before being sidelined for the final 57 games after undergoing quadriceps surgery and being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung.
Cleveland traded him to the Trail Blazers last Thursday, after which Portland waived him. Varejao hit the free-agent market 48 hours later.
Varejao dressed Monday night but did not enter the game. He is expected to be ready to play Wednesday, when the Warriors face the Heat in Miami.