LeBron James created some controversy in January when he said the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to acquire a playmaker. Things got so bad that James and Charles Barkley were in a lengthy feud based around whether he should have done this publicly.
But James’ public concerns, mixed with some lucky timing, have led to the Cavaliers being on the verge of acquiring exactly the kind of player that the team needs: Deron Williams. Despite rumors that the Jazz were looking to bring him back to the team that drafted him a decade ago, Williams stayed in Dallas through the NBA’s trade deadline.
After not finding a trade partner, the Mavericks decided it was best to hand the keys over to Yogi Ferrell and waive Williams.
Even if LeBron didn’t publicly ask for a playmaker, Williams would make a ton of sense as a guard off the bench for the Cavaliers. It also helps that Williams reportedly wants to join the team, and according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, he has made the decision to do just that once he clears waivers.
While Williams is no longer the dynamic player who had a legitimate claim to the title of best point guard on earth, he is still a solid guard who fills a massive need for the Cavs. Instead of acquiring a backup-caliber player to come off the bench, Cleveland is on the verge of getting someone who has started 40 games this year and can still get the job done in a pinch. For the 2016-17 season, Williams is averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 assists in 29.3 minutes per game.
Ultimately, everything Cleveland does comes back to one simple question: Does this help the team beat the Golden State Warriors in a potential Finals rubber match? While it remains to be seen whether Williams can help get them over the hump, the Cavaliers are undoubtedly going to be better should they get the three-time All-Star on their team.
UPDATE: Williams officially cleared waivers on Saturday afternoon and plans on signing with Cleveland. This was first reported by Marc Stein of EPSN.
Shams Charina of The Vertical reports that Williams will officially become a Cavalier at the start of next week.
The Cavaliers play at home against Milwaukee on Monday. Should Williams not be able to play in that game, the rest of the team’s schedule next week involves road trips to Boston on Wednesday, Atlanta on Friday, and Miami on Monday.