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LeBron James Gives His Opinion on Derrick Williams’ Future With Cavs
- Updated: February 13, 2017
By signing Williams, the Cavs have added a versatile swingman who can come off the bench while still maintaining flexibility to change the roster at the trade deadline. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft has now played in two games for Cleveland, playing 20-plus minutes in each and getting to the free throw line eight times against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
“We hope that this is a long-term thing,” James said. “Obviously, we know that he’s on a 10-day contract, but we believe it’s going to be long-term.”
After working out four potential free agents, word came out that the Cavs reportedly wanted to sign a player to a 10-day contract in order to maintain flexibility in case a better option were to become available via buyout or trade. But just two games into Williams’ contract and James is anticipating the Cavs will sign the new forward to a long-term deal.
James also discussed how he feels that Cleveland is the place the journeyman can best unlock his potential:
“He’s been in some difficult situations, first of all, and we hope that this is a place that can help him grow and make that next step,” James said. “He’s 25 years old. It doesn’t seem like it because we’ve been hearing his name for so long. But he’s 25. He hasn’t even gotten to his potential, to his prime yet, so hopefully this group, this locker room, myself, my leadership [helps him]. Just want to see him grow every day, and it’s a good place for him.”
Williams was a highly-touted prospect when he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2011, but has never been able to stay in one place for very long. He spent only two full seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Sacramento Kings and bouncing around to the New York Knicks and Heat.
In 25 games with the Heat this season, Williams averaged 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds on 39 percent shooting, while playing 15 minutes per game.
Ultimately, the athletic forward’s future with the team will be decided by the front office, but he has found an ally in James:
“We’re happy to have him,” James said. “It’s not many places you’re going to find a 6-[foot]-8 wing with athleticism like that at 25. So we’re lucky to have him.”