Cleveland Cavaliers Must Rid Themselves of Toxic Dion Waiters

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

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Neil Sedaka was wrong; breaking up isn't always hard to do.

Sometimes it's necessary. And easy. Like with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dion Waiters. There has never been a better time for these two parties to go their separate ways.

According to Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling, Waiters wants out of Cleveland and already has a destination of choice in mind:

It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been shopping second-year shooting guard Dion Waiters, and the latest update, according to two sources who spoke with Bleacher Report, is that the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as the top two suitors. And both are realistic destinations based on trade assets and financial complements.

According to a source close to Waiters, he "wants out" of Cleveland and "prefers to go to Philly because he thinks he'd be the best player on the team. That's his mindset."

You mean to tell us the Cavs are shopping Waiters? And Waiters wants out of Cleveland? What's the holdup?

Filthy lies, that's what. Waiters continues to deny he wants out Cleveland, according to the Akron Beacon Journal's Jason Lloyd:

Waiters refuted a Bleacher Report story that he’s asked the Cavaliers to trade him, the second such national report in less than a month. Both sides insist, however, it isn’t true.

"At the end of the day, I know what I said and didn’t say, and that’s one of those things I absolutely never said," Waiters said. "They can keep talking. I never said it."

Sure you didn't, Dion. I see what you're doing here.

The fact that Waiters must keep refuting these reports pretty much means there's truth to what Zwerling is reporting. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and Waiters' pants have become an incendiary device.

But let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment and assume he's the victim here. Okay, moment's over.

This is one of the last things Cleveland needs right now as it attempts to re-enter the dismal Eastern Conference's playoff picture. This season is big for the Cavs, as it will chart their course for an even bigger summer. They don't need Waiters stirring up trouble, which is exactly what he's reportedly done.

Before this, Waiters was forced to deny even more trade rumors.

"It's just nonsense," he said of the ever-churning rumor mill, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

First time around, we could believe him. Second time, hell no.

Too much drama is surrounding Waiters for him to be absolved of all blame. When he's not linked to trade demands, he's causing a ruckus during locker-room meetings and resenting franchise superstar Kyrie Irving, per Broussard:

Irving called the meeting after the game, and every player spoke. When Waiters was given the floor, he criticized Thompson and Irving, accusing them of playing "buddy ball'' and often refusing to pass to him. Thompson took umbrage with Waiters' words and went back at him verbally. The two confronted each other, but teammates intervened before it could escalate into a fight.

However, Waiters and Irving are not close. Waiters believes the Cavaliers have a double standard when it comes to Irving, sources said. Waiters feels that while Irving is allowed to get away with loafing defensively, making turnovers and taking bad shots, he is taken out of games for such things. Waiters has shared his views with Brown and Grant.

"Buddy ball?" Seriously? What is Waiters, 10 or something?

Irving has to be the line Cleveland won't cross. He's the only player standing between the Cavs and the purgatory they appeared destined for once LeBron James left.

You remember LeBron, right? The potential free agent Cleveland will chase this offseason, who is likely digesting every last bit of this ongoing disaster? Yeah, that LeBron.

Think LeBron will leave Miami for Cleveland and this type of drama? Think again.
Think LeBron will leave Miami for Cleveland and this type of drama? Think again.USA TODAY Sports

Chances are he won't leave a winning environment with the Miami Heat anyway, but if the Cavs are to have a fighting chance, in-house bickering incited by an entitled sophomore must cease. Not to mention that if LeBron comes to Cleveland, Irving will be the draw. Not Waiters.

Protect that asset, the one you plan to build around, by ridding the roster of a toxic young player who has failed to meet expectations.

Waiters hasn't been anything special since coming out of Syracuse a highly touted scorer with All-Star potential. His career averages of 14.7 points on 41.7 percent shooting fail to impress considering he was expected to contribute so much more.

Coach Mike Brown's impromptu decision to demote Waiters is what has prevented him from garnering an early bust label. He was recording 13.3 points on 39.8 shooting before being relegated to the second unit, where he is now averaging 15.9 points on 45.5 percent shooting. 

Waiters' Ceiling is nowhere near as high as MCW's.
Waiters' Ceiling is nowhere near as high as MCW's.Nate Shron/Getty Images

While respectable, those numbers aren't great. Not when they come with strings attached, "strings" being mile-long strands of selfishness and immaturity.

What kind of player, less than two years into his career, wants to be (allegedly) moved where he would become a top dog? Winning and learning should be all that matter to Waiters at this point. He has the opportunity to make the playoffs in Cleveland, but he would apparently rather be traded to the tanking Philadelphia 76ers because he would be their "best player."

Breaking: He wouldn't.

Michael Carter-Williams, when healthy, is the unquestioned Rookie of the Year, having taken the NBA by storm. If Waiters believes he's more talented than MCW, we can add "delusional" to his ever-growing list of issues.

On any given night, there's a chance I'd rather have Tony Wroten next to Irving or Carter-Williams. Know why? Because he isn't as self-destructive as Waiters.

There's clearly a disconnection between Waiters and reality. Rumors that surface portray him as a player who fancies himself a future star, when his ceiling is much lower.

All he's been since entering the NBA is an inefficient ball-dominator who has struggled to complement Irving, Cleveland's real superstar. That doesn't make him a future All-Star; it makes him Swaggy P (Nick Young) without the swag. Or J.R. Smith without the sweet Instagram action.

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 29: Dion Waiters #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers receives a pass against Gerald Wallace #45 of the Boston Celtics on November 29, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Throw away the fact that Waiters is clearly sending waves throughout the Cavaliers organization. Ignore that supposed closed-door dust-up. Find glimmers of hope in his responses to rumors he claims are false. Even then, you don't have a match.

Beyond the drama, there's not much here for the Cavs, who don't need an unapologetic chucker. They need a willing warrior who can thrive in their system, even if it means catering to the needs of Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao and Irving before himself.

Incessant speculation notwithstanding, this marriage is no longer working. It never really jived to begin with. If there's a taker like the Chicago Bulls or Sixers out there, pull the trigger and don't look back.

Relationships between a team and player forged on draft day are a marathon, not a sprint. But this one has been a constant, headline-grabbing, tension-creating headache.

Think of all that's happened in just a short time—the fighting, trade demands, denial of said demands, fluctuating production, more rumors and more denial.

Think of all Waiters and the Cavs have been through, and you'll see breaking up shouldn't be hard to do.

*All stats in this article used courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.


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