Deron Williams Signs with Cavaliers After Clearing Waivers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 27: The newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers Deron Williams talks to the media prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena on February 27, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers finally have the backup point guard they've long sought with the signing of Deron Williams, the team announced on Monday. 

ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst first reported the news that Williams cleared waivers on Feb. 25 and was expected to sign with the Cavs.

"It was kind of an easy decision for me, I think," Williams said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "I definitely looked at a couple other teams. But once Dallas informed me they kind of wanted to go in a different direction, the Cavs were the first team that jumped out at me. A lot of times you overthink things. I kind of went with my first thought."

The 32-year-old Williams has played the past two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. There had been speculation about the three-time All-Star being traded before Thursday's deadline, but nothing came of those rumblings.

Immediately after the trade deadline passed, the Mavs placed Williams on waivers.

Williams is no longer the high-end contributor he was during his peak seasons with the Utah Jazz and early in his tenure with the then-New Jersey Nets. He's enjoyed a solid campaign for Dallas, however, averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 assists per contest while shooting 34.8 percent from three across 40 games.

One of his best performances of the season came against the Phoenix Suns in mid-January. He put up 23 points and 12 assists with just one turnover. Afterward, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle noted the impact Williams had on the game, per Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.

"Deron had a great night as a playmaker, a scorer, and he was involved in a lot of what we were doing defensively," Carlisle said. "And down the stretch, he was really running the team. He was calling the plays, and when you have a veteran guy who has the pulse of the game, things tend to flow better."

Those type of nights weren't doing a ton to help the Mavericks, though, and it became clear owner Mark Cuban would do what he could to start building the roster for the future.

Williams, who signed a one-year contract in July, was an expendable piece. His deal has a $9 million cap hit, per Spotrac, and he'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Even if he doesn't provide the expected boost to the Cavaliers, he'll come off their books at season's end.

And Williams' presence will be welcome in Cleveland. LeBron James has made repeated calls for the Cavaliers front office to add another player capable of leading the offense, and general manager David Griffin finally obliged him.

The Illinois product will slot in behind Kyrie Irving. In order to get their latest acquisition more minutes, Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue will likely feature at least one lineup with Irving and Williams on the floor together, as well.

It's certainly a golden opportunity for Williams to chase his first NBA title. That said, his role in the playoffs will depend on how well he meshes with the existing rotation during the rest of the regular season.


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