Deron Williams is expected to sign with the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers this Monday after clearing waivers, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Williams was playing for the Dallas Mavericks before being bought out following Thursday’s trade deadline.
Deron Williams has cleared waivers and is now expected to sign with the Cavaliers, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2017
Other major contenders in the race to land Williams included his former team, the Utah Jazz, and Cleveland’s Eastern Conference foe, the Atlanta Hawks according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania. The former All-Star is averaging 13.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 2.6 rebounds this season.
Vertical Sources: Deron Williams, Dallas have started discussions toward contract buyout. Cleveland, Utah, Atlanta expressed trade interest.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2017
For a long time now, the Cavaliers have been at the center of major speculation for expected moves involving names like the Houston Rockets’ Patrick Beverley following comments from LeBron James indicating that the Cavaliers needed another strong playmaker if they wish to compete at the highest level again.
Although the team currently sits atop the Eastern Conference, losing backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova in the offseason was a substantial hit for Cleveland, as they have clearly struggled to find stability in the rotation with their young reserves.
Additionally, the Cavaliers have been plagued by injuries with major players like swingman J.R. Smith and All-Star Kevin Love having to miss substantial time. Smith has been out after having thumb surgery in December and it was recently announced that Love would miss six weeks following knee surgery.
It became evident that Cleveland would have to make a big move in order to maintain the upper hand against the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors as the back half of the season grows near.
What Williams Brings to the Cavaliers
Although his stats are not quite at the level that they were when Williams was amongst the elite point guards in the league, he has proven that he can still be a major contributor on both ends of the floor.
This season Williams is shooting 43 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range. He will likely fit very well coming off of the bench behind Kyrie Irving in the backup point guard spot. In his long career, Williams has put up competitive numbers against elite point guards in a time where the position is as strong as it has ever been. Bringing that skill set off the bench will be huge for the Cavaliers, having a leader who can very efficiently run an offense that has proven that they have immense potential.
In addition, Williams brings a great deal of off-the-court leadership to aid James in veteran authority. He has much success in this league, both in the regular and postseason, and will likely add a new dynamic to Cleveland. As a talented scorer and skilled playmaker, Williams hopes to rekindle the success he tasted earlier in his career while being another assured talent that Cleveland can rely on.
The Cavaliers are not done in trying to strengthen their team as the postseason looms. According to multiple reports, the team is in the running to sign Andrew Bogut following his buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have also been in discussion for teams that Bogut could sign with.