CLEVELAND have landed their man, now new signing Deron Williams could be key in making sure his former teammate Andrew Bogut is next to join the reigning NBA champions.
After a week of speculation, Williams signed as a free agent on Monday with the Cavs, giving the defending champions the backup point guard they’ve coveted and another playmaker to help them defend their title.
After rattling off several reasons for signing with the Cavaliers, Williams got around to the one that matters most. He wants a ring.
“Competing for a championship is something that I haven’t had a chance to do,” he said.
Williams, an Olympian and three-time All-Star who has never made it to the NBA Finals,
Williams will initially come off the bench for the Cavs, who have been seeking a backup for All-Star Kyrie Irving all season. A 13-year veteran, Williams had his contract bought out last week by Dallas, cleared waivers on Saturday and told the Cavs he would sign with them.
As he stood outside the Cavs’ locker room, Williams, who played on two U.S. Olympic teams with LeBron James, already looked at home.
“I just felt like this was the best fit for me,” he said.
“It was a team that showed interest in the off-season in signing me. … I think my name was thrown around all season and so I know a lot of the guys on the team. You know playing with LeBron in the Olympics. I played with Kyle (Korver) and he’s one of my good friends and we still talk until today. I just feel like I’ll be comfortable here. I’ll have a significant role here.”
Williams said he’s willing to play fewer minutes to help the Cavs win, although he joked that general manager David Griffin promised him he would start.
And his signing may not be the last for Cleveland, which has expressed interest in centre Bogut, who was waived by Philadelphia.
Williams played with Bogut and smiled when asked if he had any pull in getting the big man signed by the Cavs.
“We’ve been in contact,” he said.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue will likely have Williams run the offense for Cleveland’s second unit, plus Williams will allow the Cavs to rest both Irving and James, who returned to the line-up on Monday against Milwaukee after missing one game with strep throat.