And you said nobody wanted to play for Philadelphia…
Dion Waiters is a restricted free agent next summer and a Philadelphia native. While all the talk about Thunder players who may want to go home as a free agent has focused on Kevin Durant, Waiters may be the guy to do it according to a report by Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“He wants to come home,” said the source, noting that Waiters is from South Philly. “Plus, he knows that he could be the missing shooting guard they need. And he could possibility get a [very lucrative] contract with the Sixers.”
The source said that Waiters won’t publically admit his desire to play for the Sixers because he’s still under contract with the Thunder….
“He really would like that to come home,” the source said. “He talked about getting a place downtown not too far from the arena so playing at home would be less of a distraction.”
Of course, it didn’t take long for Waiters to deny this.
If I were an agent/someone in Waiters camp and wanted to start early with the effort to jack up his value and get a bigger contract next summer, I would be leaking potential landing spots as well. Which is to say that maybe Waiters would like to play in Philly, but this is all about the money and getting as big a contract offer as he can get next summer.
The Thunder will have the right to match any offer.
Whether the Sixers would want Waiters is another question. Or to phrase it better, would the Sixers pay very much to get Waiters? Philly’s need for improvement in the backcourt is not in question, but is Waiters going to fit with what they are building? Waiters has come off the bench for the Thunder this season and averaged 11 points a game, and while his shot selection should still be in question he is hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc so far this young season, plus he seems more comfortable in the midrange.
The bigger question with Waiters has always been on defense — the Thunder defense is 4.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the bench so far this young season. Thunder coach Billy Donovan has struggled to find the right fit in the two guard spot, Waiters gives them better offense than the other options, but the defensive lapses are an issue. Do the Sixers want to take that on?