CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers chose not to waive reserve point guard Mo Williams ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.
By not waiving Williams, the Cavaliers will pay him the $2.2 million on his 2016-2017 contract over the next three seasons.
In 13 years in the NBA, including a previous stop with the Cavaliers from 2008 to 2011, Williams never before advanced to The Finals, but all that changed in Cleveland this past year.
Despite battling through injuries for much of the year, Williams averaged 8.2 points, 2.4 assists and 1.8 rebounds over 41 games for the Cavaliers during the regular season. He shot 43.7 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three-point range, the highest of any of his last four seasons.
Then, in the postseason, Williams saw action in 13 games, including all but one of the seven contests in The Finals, and served as relief for starter Kyrie Irving while making Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson work on the offensive end of the floor.
“The first time I was here, we didn’t get it done,” Williams said at the Cavaliers’ Championship Parade and Rally back in June. “I tell the story and I think about it, when I was traded from here the first time. That pick turned into that young man right there, Kyrie Irving, brought him here with the No. 1 pick. I had the opportunity to come back this year and help these guys win a title. There couldn’t be a greater feeling.”
According to Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, having Williams on the very team that brought a championship home to Cleveland for the first time since the Browns won the NFL crown in 1964 was part of the reason the victory was so sweet.
“Me and Mo had some unfinished business the last time we were together in 09-10,” James said. “Making it to the Eastern Conference Finals and losing to Orlando, making it to the second round and losing to Boston, and we went our separate ways.
“When we had an opportunity to pick him up in the offseason, I think it was great for our team and I’m happy to be able to share this moment with Mo, share a championship with Mo because we had unfinished business. Thank you, Mo.”
Realizing he was part of an NBA Championship team did not take long to settle in for Williams.
As soon as the clock struck 0.00 in a 93-89 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 at Oracle Arena on Father’s Day, the Cavaliers started a celebration that was 52 years in the making for the city of Cleveland, and more than 1.3 million fans came out to help the team welcome home its first-ever NBA Championship.
“I’m a champ. I’m a champ. I’m a champ,” Williams said.