Leading up to Thursday afternoon’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers were rumored to be interested a handful of point guards, including Rockets’ Patrick Beverley and Dallas’ Deron Williams, among others. After the deadline passed with the Cavs not taking part in any moves, it seems as though they will get a player that they long coveted without having to trade away any of their own. The Dallas Mavericks waived Williams following the deadline and after he is expected to clear waivers due to his salary, he is expected to sign with the Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Nothing official can happen until Saturday afternoon, after Williams clears waivers following the 48-hour waiver wire.
Multiple teams interested in Deron Williams tell ESPN they believe Williams has already decided to join Cleveland upon clearing waivers
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
Ever since backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova left for Milwaukee to take a well-deserved payday during the summer, the Cavs—both management and LeBron James—have made no secret that the wine and gold need a backup point guard to come off the bench behind Kyrie Irving. Now in late February, it seems as though that backup point guard has fallen into their lap and they won’t have to give up anything for him.
He may be passed his prime, but Williams can still bring plenty to the table in order to help the Cavs achieve their ultimate goal. So far this season, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound point guard has averaged 13.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in 29.3 minutes per game (40 games). He also has shot 43 percent from the field (best since 2013-14) and 35 percent from beyond the arc.
Of his 12 seasons in the NBA, the Williams has spent just 4.5 seasons in the Eastern Conference, from 2011-2015, with the Brooklyn Nets (and formerly the New Jersey Nets).
The three-time All-Star will not only lead the second unit, but he will be a scorer, playmaker, shooter, and ball handler that the Cavs have badly needed from a legitimate backup point guard. Although he may not be used to coming off the bench (has started 103 of 105 games played since the start of the 2015 season), the veteran will likely do whatever is needed for both he and the Cavs to achieve their ultimate goal in June.
For the first time this season, assuming he is signed, Williams will be someone who will ease the burden off of both Irving and James. Rather than having to use two-guard Iman Shumpert as their primary ball handler off the bench or having to lean on rookie Kay Felder to take over the point guard duties on the second unit, the former Illinois star will allow head coach Tyronn Lue to give James more rest now that they have a legitimate ball handler on the bench that he can actually count on, whether it’s in crunch time or not. The fact that this one happened to play alongside James for Team USA is all the better.