Reloaded

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Raffy Ledesma

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t have assets to trade in the run-up to the deadline so they waited for the buyout market to begin and they hit pay dirt. Everybody wants to join a winner and this was glaringly true the past week as two good veterans, who were cut from their respective teams, joined The Land.

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Former All-Star point Deron Williams, who never made it to the NBA Finals, signed with the Cavs, giving the defending champions a quality back-up point guard for Kyrie Irving. Irving has been getting heavy minutes and an even heavier workload since the start of the season.

A 13-year veteran, Williams has career averages of 16.6 points and 8.2 assists and is a good playmaker that can space the floor. He will be running the second unit of the Cavs and may even start on some days alongside Irving. In recent interviews, Williams said it was an easy decision since he was comfortable with the team. He was LeBron’s teammate on two NBA gold-medal Olympic teams. He also played with mid-season acquisition Kyle Korver. With Williams, Irving and James can play off the ball and get easier shots.

Another veteran coming to Cleveland is center Andrew Bogut. Bogut brings much needed depth at a time when Kevin Love is still weeks away from returning due to an injury. He is a physical player who can protect the rim as a weak side defender.  More importantly, Bogut is a good passer and has offensive skills that can take some of the pressure off his teammates.

By joining the Cavs, Bogut can get his revenge if they face the Golden State Warriors. Bogut won a title back in 2015 with the Warriors but was quickly cut after a year, as the Warriors needed salary space to sign Kevin Durant.

Bogut has averaged 10 points and 8.9 rebounds in his 12-year career and is a former No.1 draft pick.

Since the start of the year, four veteran players have already joined the Cavs namely shooter Kyle Korver, former No. 2 pick Derrick Williams, former No.3 pick Deron Williams and Bogut.

Their main rivals, the Golden State Warriors, will have to finish the season without the injured Kevin Durant who is out because of a hyper-extended knee. The Warriors’ hold on the No. 1 spot in the NBA has suddenly become tenuous with the San Antonio Spurs breathing down their necks.

The Cavs, meanwhile, has an easier path to the NBA Finals with no serious contender in the East. The Cavs are fully loaded and with their new additions, have become favorites to win a second straight title.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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