On a day that was supposed to be all about Allen Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers announced the signing of Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract Saturday morning. Varnado had been scheduled to workout with the Sixers back on January 13 when Dewayne Dedmon auditioned for his own 10-day contract, but did not compete due to an injury.
Since, Varnado returned to action for the D-League's Iowa Energy, averged 14.1 points along with a league-high 4.7 blocks and ranked second in rebounding with 11.0 rebounds per game en route to being named a D-Leauge All-Star this season. Varnado signed a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 18 and he likely would have stayed on in Chicago for an additional 10-day deal had Jimmer Fredette not been waived by Sacramento and signed by the Bulls. Chicago's everlasting fight to remain under the luxury tax might also have played into Varnado's time ending with the Bulls.
"It's pretty simple. He's an elite shot-blocker," Iowa Energy GM Chris Makris told Liberty Ballers. "With the right minutes, he can probably be that, if not, then close to an elite shot-blocker in the NBA. He's a really good kid and a really hard worker and a great teammate. If he gets in there he's going to make the most of the opportunity."
With Dedmon now with the Orlando Magic on a 10-day deal, Sam Hinkie is taking another chance on an athletic big man with some upside.
"He's developing a bit of a mid-range shot," Makris continued. "He's mostly a put-back dunker kind of guy. But his great length is what makes him so effective on the defensive end. He's got incredible timing, especially to help on the weak side. This time of year, people with open roster spots want to see these guys that have the chance to stick and Jarvis is one of the best big men, if not the best big man, in the D-League, so why not take a shot on him?"
The signing is somewhat of a birthday present as Varnado actually turns 26 today. He is the third-oldest Sixers player on the roster behind only Jason Richardson and Eric Maynor and he'll be only the second player over 25 to see the court for Brett Brown this season if he does get minutes. Varnado also brings a championship ring to the Wells Fargo Center, having been on the Miami Heat's title team last season before being replaced by one Greg Oden.