Dellavedova will set example for Sexton
The empty seats in Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 7, in another lopsided loss, this time to the improved Sacramento Kings, told the story better than words can:
The Cavs need a Matthew Dellavedova Bobblehead Night to get the fans back.
The first step to such an occasion was taken about two hours before the Cavs-Kings game when the Cavaliers shipped guard George Hill and forward Sam Dekker to the Milwaukee Bucks for Dellavedova, power forward John Henson, a future firstround pick and a future second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
No official announcement has been made by the Cavaliers because all the players involved have to pass physicals first. Henson won’t be passing his, however, because he had surgery on Nov. 27 to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist. There is no timetable for his return, but he is unlikely to be back until after the All-Star break in midFebruary.
The trade doesn’t make the Cavaliers better on paper in 2018-19, but it could look very good by the time they get to spend the firstrounder, reportedly in 2022. The pick, according to reports, is a protected 2021 pick, which means the Bucks would retain it if it is one of the top 14 picks in the 2021 draft. It would remain protected in 2022 if it is a top-pick.
You might ask, “Why would the Bucks make this deal?” They unloaded Dellavedova’s $9.6 million salary next year and Henson’s nearly $9 million salary. Hill is in the final year of his contract and Decker is on a one-year deal.
In another development, the Bucks traded Decker to the Washington Wizards for center Jason Smith and a secondrounder. In yet another twist, the Cavaliers are sending a 2021 secondround pick to the Wizards for a 2022 second-round pick, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Pass the Excedrin bottle, please.
The Cavaliers are trying to walk that thin line between chucking this season for better draft picks and trying to win now while building for the future. This trade does both, and it means one of the most popular players to play for the Cavaliers in the last 15 years is back in a Cleveland uniform.
The Twitter world lit up with “Delly!” as word of the deal quickly spread.
Dellavedova played three seasons for the Cavaliers. He broke into the NBA with the Cavs as an undrafted rookie in 2013. He played in 72 games as a rookie with only four starts, but he immediately endeared himself to fans with his constant hustle every time he was on the floor.
Delly played in 76 games with 14 starts and averaged 24.6 minutes in the 2015-16 championship season. He averaged 7.5 points and 4.4 assists that season, but again it was his hustle more than sheer numbers that made him an integral part of the team.
“This is my guy. This is my teammate,” former Cavs star LeBron James said of Delly during the 2016 playoffs. “This is the guy that goes out and works his tail off every single night.”
If Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew could ask for one player to set an example for rookie guard Collin Sexton of how to be a professional, he could not make a better choice than Dellavedova.
Fans loved the hustle Delly showed in games. What they didn’t get to see is he practices the same way. He will push Sexton in practice, and that should make Sexton better in games – which isn’t to say Sexton doesn’t hustle, but he doesn’t hustle on defense the way Delly does.
The Cavaliers aren’t losing much by shipping Hill to Milwaukee. Hill missed 11 games with a shoulder injury. He started all 13 games he played and averaged 10.8 points a contest. He was not an inspiration to his teammates.
The Cavs will have to wait until Henson’s wrist heals to see how he can help them off the bench. Henson, 6-foot-11, is in his seventh season, all with Milwaukee. He started 69 of 76 games last year while averaging 8.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots. He played in 14 games this season, all off the bench, and average 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots.
Decker has played in nine games with the Cavs. He has missed most of the season with an ankle injury but is close to returning. Ironically, the Cavs play Dekker’s new team, the Washington Wizards, on Dec. 8.
Matthew Dellavedova is fouled between the Pistons’ Langston Galloway (9) and Bruce Brown on Dec. 5 in Milwaukee.