Up until the 2016-17, Dion Waiters was perhaps best known for losing his mind when Kyrie Irving or LeBron James didn’t cede the ball to him during his Cleveland Cavaliers days.
In a team meeting in 2013, Waiters and Tristan Thompson nearly came to blows when the shooting guard accused the Cavs big man and Irving of playing “buddy ball” and intentionally not passing to him.
Then there’s this infamous reaction to James electing not to pass to Waiters.
— Daydream Reliever (@singlebaymale) January 25, 2015
Now Irving has asked for a trade, and one of his preferred destinations is the Miami Heat, where Waiters had a breakout campaign in 2016-17, posting career highs in minutes, rebounds, and assists per game. His 15.8 points per game were 0.1 shy of his career high from 2013-14.
In an interview with HipHopSince1987, Waiters said he’d be receptive to the addition of Irving—with a caveat.
“It would help—I’m not against that,” Waiters said. “Just know there’s an alpha male over there too in myself.”
The 25-year-old has believed himself to be better than Irving for a while now.
Cavs coach Blatt told Waiters he needed spot-up shooter. Waiters resisted. Believes he’s better than Kyrie, thought Kyrie “favored” by Cavs.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 6, 2015
Waiters added that he wasn’t surprised by Irving’s trade request, and that both players learned from James during their time in Cleveland.
“We talk, we have talks,” Waiters said. “I’d be lying if I said I’m surprised. At the end of the day, I knew what’s up. I respect him. He won one. It’s time for him to go take on a bigger role, be that leader, be that guy. He wants to be that guy I guess. There’s nothing wrong with that. I ride with that. I respect that decision. He knows what it takes to win. He learned all that from Bron, from playing with him for four years. He knows what it takes. That’s how I was. When I played Bron I soaked everything in. I was a sponge. Bron took me under his wing from day one. Every little thing, how to take care of his body, he’s a pro’s pro, a true professional.”
Here’s the whole interview.