Dellave­dova will set ex­am­ple for Sex­ton

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - Jeff Schudel

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.

AARON GASH - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Matthew Dellave­dova is fouled be­tween the Pis­tons’ Langston Gal­loway (9) and Bruce Brown on Dec. 5 in Mil­wau­kee.

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