2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Dion Waiters explains tweet saying he wouldn’t accept bench role


Dion Waiters wants to start for the Cavaliers next season, and he made that clear in a recent tweet:


Case closed?

Not exactly.

The Cleveland guard expanded on his one-word (albeit elongated) response to a question on Twitter.

Waiters, via Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:

“I want to start and I believe that I should at the two,” Waiters told CSNNW.com.

“I just say how I feel,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever is best for the team, of course, but at the end of the day, I’m a man and I’m confident in myself. I’ve always been a guy that gives it right to you. I’ve never been a guy that plays that political stuff. I was brought up that way. I’m straightforward. I give my honest opinion. I’m not going to sit here and hide. They asked a question and I tell you.”

This is why I encourage people to speak more openly with the media.

I did not read Waiters’ tweet this way at all. With limited contextual clues, I took it as him politicking for the starting role via social media.

Instead, he was doing the opposite – expressing his honest thoughts.

I wish more players would do that. I really respect where Waiters is coming from.

I don’t believe Waiters is good enough to start long-term, and the Cavaliers should start LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins on the wings as presently constructed – though a Kevin Love trade could change the roster makeup.

But this test – explaining what he really meant – Waiters aced. The next challenge will be handling coming of the bench if that’s what David Blatt asks of him.

Waiters might not accept resigning himself to a reserve role personally, but he still might handle it well enough outwardly. Before we blast Waiters for being selfish, let’s give him a chance to handle the situation – if it comes up.

Maybe he’ll come back next season improved and deserving of a starting spot, though I’m not counting on that.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.