Mo Williams playing days are over in Cleveland but would Williams suit up for a different team?
It’s weird isn’t it.
Why consider retirement then opt-in then announce your retirement before training camp but not sign the retirement papers? Why send out a cryptic Instagram post saying nobody ever cared about you but yourself at the same time? Why would the Cleveland Cavaliers treat you like a bad memory, with your face never appearing in The Q Arena in replica or reality?
He can’t come in? Why?
Mo Williams‘ retirement saga with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which has its roots in his benching for Matthew Dellavedova last year, has left a bad taste in the mouth of many. Williams, who played superbly in Kyrie Irving‘s early season absence was out of the lineup with his own injury soon after Irving’s return.
Shooting 53.1 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from three-point range while averaging 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the month of November, Williams kept the Cavs train on track all season.
David Blatt, who was being criticized for not playing veterans like Williams and Richard Jefferson more according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, was eventually fired. Nonetheless, while Jefferson got regular minutes under Tyronn Lue, Williams didn’t. All this after confiding in Lue that the demotion made him less enthused to play in Cleveland. According to Chris Haynes, formerly of Cleveland.com and now ESPN, not being a rotation player for the first time had been the most challenging time of Williams’ career.
It makes sense Williams would opt-in and that he considered retirement. On the one hand, Williams had a string of injuries last season. He also got valuable minutes in Games 6 and 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Then, when Dellavedova signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, there was nothing to stop Williams from getting minutes.
Well, until Kay Felder was drafted. To Williams, the cycle was about to start all over again. An instant fan favorite, a LeBron James favorite, lurking behind him. That he trained with Felder shows there was no animosity for Felder himself from Williams, who saw the rookies potential and tried to prepare him for what may ahead in his inevitable departure.
Williams, who underwent surgery in mid-October was expecting a lengthy recovery. Williams’ bitterness towards the idea of being a bit player, a DNP-Coach’s Decision after opting back into his contact caused the animosity in between every line of his now deleted Instagram post.
Williams wrote “Nobody and I repeat nobody actually gave a damn about my health but me” as the caption of a picture of him lying in a hospital bed with an IV in his right arm.
If Williams would have done this before August ended, they would have waived him with the stretch provision according to James Herbert of CBS Sports. Now, after turning his back to the organization, he probably can’t come back if he wants to.
Costing $3 million that the Cavs would rather use to acquire a different point guard than just waste, the team has made efforts to pair Williams with a player in a trade package. While most teams probably think they’re just acquiring dead money to put on their books, Williams could potentially play when he recovers from surgery. If he wanted to retire, he would have right?
It’s unlikely Williams was planning long and hard about ways to make things harder for the organization. It’s more likely he made the decision after feeling slighted by the team’s lack of commitment to him as the backup point guard for the second straight season.
Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers tall about J.R. Smith like their favorite son and just touch on his retirement without even a congratulations could have irked Williams. Then again, Williams’ constant injuries and indecision could have irked the Cavs, especially by essentially giving the team 14 roster spots to work with instead of 15 with both.
Regardless of why Williams isn’t playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Williams has already shown that he wants to be a sure-fire rotation player for a franchise and proven that when he’s healthy he can be productive. Not signing his retirement papers seems in line with what a player unwilling to retire would do. Add in that he has one year left on his contract, Williams could just want to feel important to a team one last time before he officially retires.
When looking around the league, there are only so many teams he could play for.
He has former coaches now on the staffs of the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. Meanwhile, teams like the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers could use better guard play in their second unit.
Of those teams, the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers have point guards they could exchange for Williams. Especially given that a versatile NBA veteran in sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the young scorer Jordan McRae could potentially find themselves in the trade package as well.
Would Williams play for any of those franchises if he can be in their rotation?
Do you think Mo Williams would play for another team? Let us know in the comments section or Twitter @KJG_NBA.