Dion Waiters’ reputation has taken a hit this season. Then again, that could be said for just about everybody involved with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs began the season with playoff aspirations, but things unraveled for them quickly. Andrew Bynum was suspended, then released, for poor conduct. Kyrie Irving has underperformed, and there have been murmurs about his attitude being less than stellar. Luol Deng, who came over from Chicago in a midseason trade, reportedly was shocked by the dysfunction he found in Cleveland’s locker room.
Waiters hasn’t been immune from the broiling fiasco, but that hasn’t prevented a few teams — including the Boston Celtics — from kicking the tires on a potential trade for the second-year guard.
“Dion Waiters falls at the intersection of all this,” writes Zach Lowe at Grantland. “Warts and all, the guy has obvious NBA skills, and smart ‘buy low’ talent evaluators recognize that. Boston has kicked around almost every intriguing ‘buy low’ piece in the league, especially guys on rookie deals. The Celtics have an appetite for low-cost risk on high-upside talent, even talent with ‘attitude’ issues, but Waiters might be too far down the road for Boston at this point.”
The Cavs likely would be looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Waiters, according to Lowe, although it’s doubtful they would be able to get a very good pick in this year’s stacked draft.
Waiters, 22, has one year at $4 million remaining on his contract after this season. He has a $5.1 million team option for 2015-16 built on the end of the rookie deal he signed after Cleveland made him the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He is averaging 14.3 points per game this season while shooting 36 percent on 3-point attempts.