Newly instated Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt has some roster finagling to do.
Dion Waiters has been kind enough to set some parameters for him, within a tweet that has since been deleted:
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 15, at 4:25 p.m. ET:
In addition to taking down the original tweet, Waiters responded with the following:
Despite Waiters' outright distaste for coming off the bench, he may not have a choice. The additions of LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins have changed things.
After that it's probably Tristan Thompson at the four and Anderson Varejao at center to start and end games.
But at the two guard spot, do you start Dion Waiters or throw your No. 1 pick, the athletic but raw Andrew Wiggins out there and let him learn on the job? The Cavaliers see Wiggins as a big two, not a three, watching him at Summer League he can be a good NBA defender right now, but his jumper is far from consistent.
Slotting Wiggins as a 2-guard forces Waiters out of the starting lineup. At 6'4", he's not big enough to defend opposing small forwards. He could work alongside Wiggins if the latter is deemed a 3, but that demands Blatt and the Cavs change their tune.
Last season's numbers do show that Waiters was better as a starter, for what it's worth:
|Waiters By Role in 2013-14|
|G||PTS||FG%||3P%||REB||AST||Off. Rtg.||Def. Rtg.|
Knowing Waiters performed well in the starting lineup last year, Blatt could run him at the 2, Wiggins at the 3 and James at the 4. But that's assuming James even wants to play power forward.
That's also assuming the Cavs can make it work with that many ball-dominators in the lineup. Irving, Waiters, Wiggins and James all prefer to operate with the ball in their hands. More than one of them will have to make some sacrifices if they're logging a majority of their minutes together.
Put that way, coming off the bench as Cleveland's sixth man actually ensures Waiters of a more prominent role, replete with additional touches and the opportunity to, at times, be the focal point of the second unit.
None of that matters, though, if Waiters is truly against headlining Cleveland's reserves.
There's this to consider:
And then this:
Bringing Waiters off the bench could create some unnecessary turmoil within the locker room. James is there to help ease the process and hold players—even the youngsters—accountable, but he can only do so much if Waiters won't buy in.
"I've been parachuting from mountain top to mountain top in the last two months," Blatt told USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt of his good coaching fortune.
Waiters may have added some violent gusts of wind to Blatt's otherwise smooth parachuting.
Hopefully he winds up buying in to whatever plan Blatt lays out. That is, unless he really, really wants to become a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sources told ESPN.com's Chris Broussard the Cavs offered the Timberwolves a package of Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick for Kevin Love. If a similar deal ultimately goes through, it could assure Waiters of the larger role he seems to be seeking.
Until then—or rather, for the foreseeable future—Waiters remains a member of the Cavs. And such membership may dictate he starts making some compromises.