Dion Waiters’ addition to the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster allows him to renew acquaintances with LeBron James, with whom Waiters says he already has a bond.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin looked at the arrival of Waiters, who was acquired by the Lakers just days ago.
One thing that’s clear is that the veteran guard is confident his past with James will make for a smooth transition with the team.
“I mean, it’s always been a bond,” Waiters said when asked about his relationship with James. “Even when I left. We always see each other, we always showed love. So, nothing really changed. It’s just different teams. We don’t get to see each other as much, as often, but when we did it was always genuine. So, when I came here, like I said, they welcomed me with open arms.”
The bond that Waiters speaks of presumably began when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and James returned to the team in free agency in July of that year.
Yet, that official connection as teammates only lasted a few months before Waiters was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in January 2015. In July 2016, Waiters then moved on to play for another of James’ past teams, the Miami Heat.
Waiters’ time in Miami was marred by injuries and off-the-court problems that got him suspended on three different occasions this season.
Given James’ intense focus on bringing an NBA title to the Lakers, the apparent bond between Waiters and James would be tested if Waiters reverts to the aforementioned behavioral problems.
However, the easiest way for Waiters to strengthen that bond is to deliver with strong on-court play for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
The 28-year-old Waiters is in his eighth NBA season and has averaged 13.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game over his career.
Coming off the bench to provide numbers like that will provide the framework for a win-win situation for Waiters, James and the Lakers as a whole.