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Report: Dion Waiters accused Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson of playing “buddy ball.”

Nov 28, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

We knew that a couple of weeks ago after another ugly loss (29 points to the Timberwolves), the Cavaliers had a team meeting and in it things got a little tense — shouting, but not fisticuffs.

Not long after, Dion Waiters lost his starting spot to Matthew Dellavedova, which made sense as Waiters is shooting 39.9 percent this season and since he doesn’t bring much defense he needs to knock down shots. Then came the reports the Cavaliers are shopping Waiters around (and what they want in return is laughable).

Now comes a report of what happened in that team meeting that sort of ties everything together, via Chris Broussard at ESPN.

Irving called the meeting after the game, and every player spoke. When Waiters was given the floor, he criticized Thompson and Irving, accusing them of playing “buddy ball” and often refusing to pass to him. Thompson took umbrage with Waiters’ words and went back at him verbally. The two confronted each other, but teammates intervened before it could escalate into a fight.

However, Waiters and Irving are not close. Waiters believes the Cavaliers have a double standard when it comes to Irving, sources said. Waiters feels that while Irving is allowed to get away with loafing defensively, making turnovers and taking bad shots, he is taken out of games for such things. Waiters has shared his views with Brown and Grant.

News flash Dion: There is a double standard. On every team. The face of the franchise is treated differently, it’s a tradition that runs from George Mikan through Michael Jordan all the way to LeBron James. The team’s biggest star gets more leeway. You are not the face of the franchise Waiters, Irving is.

Irving is the guy the Cavaliers are building around. Tristan Thompson may not live up to all the hype but he looks like a solid rotation player. Waiters looks like a gunner who wants to create his own shot but isn’t efficient doing it – 40 percent of his offensive opportunities  this season come as the ball handler in the pick-and-roll but he shoots just 36.2 percent (stats via Synergy Sports).

What to take away from all this: Cleveland is going to move Waiters. Maybe sooner rather than later, but right now the offers that are going to come in are lowball ones, Cleveland has to be patient and get some leverage before making a move.

  1. timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 28, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Looks like you’re letting Irving off the hook. He should be held responsible for the crappiness that is the Cleveland cavaliers.

    • khadeemw - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      exactly…kyrie gets a pass in the media and i dont know y…he doesnt play defense…he isnt a great facilatator and his team sucks

  2. timb12 - Nov 28, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    The Cavs are a mess.

  3. dadawg77 - Nov 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Yes, there is a double standard but LeBron and Jordan didn’t make a habit of loafing on d.

  4. antistratfordian - Nov 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Just as much as there is always the star double standard, there is also always a player on the team who feels like he could be a star in a different situation, and that he’s not being “put in a position to succeed.” On every team. So this isn’t just about Waiters not accepting the standard double standard – it’s also about Irving dropping the ball as the team leader and primary distributor of the rock.

    Just saying “he’s the franchise player, you’re not – deal with it” isn’t the answer – and trading Waiters is not going to resolve the issue completely because that’s only 1/2 of the problem – the other half will crop up again with someone else. Hopefully Irving will learn from this.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      Wow…not a bad post from anti!

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 29, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      When Anti isn’t posting about Kobe he actually makes really insightful post.

      • loungefly74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        see what happens when you use your superpowers for good not evil?

    • JHathwell - Nov 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Kind of tough to make this case when we’re talking about a sub 40% shooting “shooting guard” who is woefully inefficient here, not some potential superstar being held down.

      Waiters, like allot of the Cleveland draft picks, is a bust. Short two guy who doesn’t pass and can’t score at this level. Even worse, the word is already out about him around the league, so they won’t get much.

      I mean, I get what you are trying to say, it just doesn’t’ apply here.

  5. jamesk2465 - Nov 28, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Well there was that one game in CHI when they were down by 10 and Waiters scored a quick 9 and didn’t get any more shots for the rest of the game.

  6. jamesk2465 - Nov 28, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    The great coaches in the NBA hold all there players accountable. Like a Popovich, Phil and Erik

    • Shoebert - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      One of these things is not like the other.

      • mytthor - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        I had to think for a moment who “Erik” was. And I think that says it all.

  7. adzs - Nov 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Kyrie Irving, Jonas Valanciunas, Harrison Barnes, Victor Oladipo >> Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett
    The latter is the travesty that arises when a front office tries to outsmart the rest of the league and in the process completely outsmarts itself. The former is the core that should right now be challenging for a 5/6 spot in the playoffs and contending in the east for years to come; the lesson here? Cleveland sucks at drafting lol

    • jeffkx - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Hindsight is fun, but it wouldn’t always work out that way. For example, if they had drafted Harrison Barnes in 2012, maybe they win a few more game and have the 4th pick in the 2013 draft and don’t get Oladipo. It’s always easy to look back and pick the better players but it wouldn’t always work out that way.

      • deavn - Nov 28, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        Either way it goes, if they would have more intelligent picks, they would be in a much better situation. I could see if they had a mid or late first round pick and got Waiters. But they had the number 4 pick. Why do you think most mock drafts didn’t have Waiters that high on their draft board? He’s nothing but a gunner. There were plenty of players better than him. They could have gotten Barnes, Drummond, Lamb (much better fit than Waiters), hell even Sully. Even in 2011, they could have gotten Klay (which is who I wanted them to pick in the first place.) or Kawhi. Tristan is a solid player but he’s no Klay or Kawhi. These were HIGH draft picks and they blew it each time with the exception of Kyrie. So that’s what they get. A below average team.

    • jamesk2465 - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      It’s till too way early to know how good they are. Mike brown doesn’t give AB pt and Thompson is better than Valanciunas today he’s only good in the summer league

      • 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM

        Valenciunas got too much hype. People still buying into it. Maybe in another year or so but right now Thompson is clearly a better player, you’re right.

    • lfarrell2012 - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Because Chris Grant has no idea what he is doing…

  8. tigers182 - Nov 28, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Dude, you’ve proved nothing in the league. Shut your mouth until you do. Right now, you’re Pacman. All mouth.

  9. riders008 - Nov 28, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    My cavs are a mess
    Chris grant must go…….
    But in saying that if there was a yr to be lottery bound its this yr…….get in the top 5 and get one of those fabulous freshman or Marcus smart

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      I bet you the Cavs still make the playoffs. Real talk

  10. riders008 - Nov 28, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    And watching deon waiters it is clear he does not want to be here
    Not saying he won’t be good but he needs a coach or locker room like the heat or spurs

  11. dolphindubs - Nov 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM


    Damn straight.

  12. Chris - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    The thing is Brown is the worst coach at letting heir best player get away with everything and anything. He did it with Lebron he’s now doing it with Kyrie.

  13. biggestredmiami - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Kyrie may loaf on defense sometimes, but he’s also the only player that gives them a chance to win every time he’s on the floor, Dion.

    • kinggw - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Its funny you say that because Waiters kept the Cavs in the game with the Heat last night, meanwhile Kyrie was abysmal.

  14. thekingdave - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Irving was the #1 overall pick and de facto franchise player so he is impervious to criticism and anything Waiters has a probe is instantly moot? Great logic and analysis Kurt.

  15. pfic15 - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Cavs. Lotto bound once again.

  16. jbeagles23 - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Just cause you making kyrie the face of the franchise doesn’t mean he’s a franchise player

  17. zoomy123 - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Kyrie Irving and the Cav’s biggest problem is that they are young, inexperienced and have a ridiculously low basketball IQ. And that game against Miami proved it. Everybody knows that the Miami Heat’s biggest weakness is their front court, so why is Kyrie Irving taking 3’s and playing on the perimeter? Why isn’t Andrew Bynum or Tristan Thompson or Anderson Verajao touching the ball on every Cav’s possession? The Cavs are a joke because Kyrie Irving is a joke. If he’s the leader and the face of that franchise then it’s his responsibility to be the coach on the floor and take responsibility for that team’s miscues. Sometimes I wonder how LBJ ever took those Cavs teams and contended for a title; and LBJ’s teammates were WORSE.

    • ronp2 - Nov 29, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      That’s coaching. Mike Brown is horrible. He can’t take responsibility when he’s being kept on the bench for long stretches, thanks to MB. The offense is stagnant and he sees doube teams more than not, so shooting the 3 is to loosen up the defense…obviously you don’t play much basketball. And btw, LBJ didn’t take the Cavs to the Finals until his 4th season, and didn’t make the playoffs in his first 2 seasons. Kyrie is in his 3rd year and they are two totally different entities.

      • zoomy123 - Nov 29, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        So, it’s Mike Brown’s fault that Dion Waiters thinks Kyrie and Tristan are playing “buddy ball”? LOL! If Kyrie’s the team leader then he should go to Dion and Tristan and talk it out. That’s what team leaders do. It’s Kyrie’s responsibility as both the team leader and the point guard to make sure everybody is involved on both offense and defense.

        Also, the one who doesn’t play or watch basketball is you. Miami’s 1 true weakness is their front court. You don’t need to take 3’s to loosen up Miami’s defense and take advantage of that weakness.

        As for LBJ and Kyrie, LBJ did better with less. In 2002-03 the Cavs won 17 games. When LBJ was a rookie in 2003-04 the Cavs immediately added 18 wins to their record. And the year after (2004-05) the Cavs had a winning record at 42-40. So, in 2 years LBJ took a 17 win team to a winning record. Kyrie is now in his 3rd year and Cleveland is on pace to lose 50+ games. That’s no knock on Kyrie because LBJ is better but my point is that it’s a miracle that LBJ was able to contend for a title with such a terribly mismanaged organization.

  18. lrpfd - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Common melo. Light it up.

  19. lrpfd - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    hey cavs ? Missing queen james?

  20. fearthehoody - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Chris Broussard used his “Sources” so this means nothing.

  21. homergreenz - Nov 28, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Hey Kurt, you still think they’re going to wait until the deadline to trade Waiters?

    He’ll be shipped out of town before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      The guys the Cavs asked for were way to high in value (even Evan Turner, who is the better player). So until they find a team not giving lowball offers they are stuck with him, unless they want pennies on the dollar.

      • homergreenz - Nov 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        The trade deadline is not until 2/20, the restriction on trades of players signed as free agents this year is removed in two weeks. That’s a big window…The Cavs are We’ll see, if you’re right, I’ll acknowledge it.

      • homergreenz - Nov 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        The trade deadline is not until 2/20, the restriction on trades of players signed as free agents this year is removed in two weeks. That’s a big window…The Cavs are We’ll see, if you’re right, I’ll acknowledge it.

  22. ddpenny - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    it would be a mistake trading waiters because on my 2k14 association hes a top 5 mvp candidate 2 years from now. just saying.

  23. 00maltliquor - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    KH…+1 for the use of the word, “fisticuffs”
    LOL! Happy Thanksgiving

  24. rudolphcory - Nov 28, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    “News flash Dion: There is a double standard. On every team. The face of the franchise is treated differently, it’s a tradition that runs from George Mikan through Michael Jordan all the way to LeBron James. The team’s biggest star gets more leeway. You are not the face of the franchise Waiters, Irving is.”

    Ridiculous. MJ and LBJ didn’t ‘loaf’ defensively, and they consistently put up much better numbers than Irving could ever hope for.

    So when Irving is 1/1,000,000th the player MJ was and LBJ is, then maybe he can have that ‘double standard’.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      That the star player makes a priority of defense and is a true leader speaks to that player, to suggest that Jordan and LeBron were never given special treatment is ridiculous.

  25. abchome - Nov 28, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Waiters should be working in restaurants.

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