By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
INDEPENDENCE: Dion Waiters returned to practice Monday dismissing rumors of an altercation in the locker room last week and said he would be ready to play Wednesday when the Cavs host the Washington Wizards.
“I’d rather fight somebody else on the other team than one of my teammates,” Waiters said. “That’s the way it is. That’s the way I was brought up. I feel as though we say we’re family, then we’re a family and I’m going to look out for you to the best of my abilities. All the other stuff is foolishness.”
The Cavs held a players-only meeting after a 29-point loss Wednesday at Minnesota. The meeting was intense, players who were present privately told the Beacon Journal, but no punches were thrown.
“We got it off our chests. At the end of the day, I think we needed it and we can move forward,” Waiters said. “We’re men. Nobody got into no altercations or anything like that. We got everything off our chests that we needed to. That’s that. All the other rumors, man, are rumors. Don’t believe it. It’s not true. We talked. Everybody talked. Nobody put their hands on nobody. At the end of the day, we’re teammates.”
Practice on Monday was Waiters’ first with the team since the game last Wednesday. He was sent home before practice Thursday with flu-like symptoms, further fueling speculation regarding his role on the team and incidents from the players-only meeting.
“That’s some people’s job just to think stuff that happened that didn’t. I knew what happened. I knew what took place,” he said. “I just got sick at that time. Of course everybody’s going to think otherwise. But everybody on the team and I knew what really happened, so I’m good.”
Waiters told the Beacon Journal last week that he had a long talk with his agent, Rob Pelinka, that helped clear his head. Waiters was frustrated over losing so many games and with his lack of touches offensively, but Pelinka helped him to clear his head.
“It’s frustrating just losing, especially knowing you had games, being in the games and we could have done one or two things better or just sharing the ball, being unselfish, things like that,” Waiters said. “It built up, frustration built up and at the end of the day we called a players meeting right after the game when we lost to Minnesota. We said what we had to say and that’s that.”
As for his future role, apparently that remains to be determined. Coach Mike Brown wouldn’t commit to starting him Wednesday when the Cavs host the Washington Wizards.
“I’m not sure. I’ve put guys in and out of the lineup,” Brown said. “I’m still searching. Every time we step on the floor in a shoot-around, practice or game, I feel like we’re getting closer to a group of guys I think can play together for an extended period of time.”
Said Waiters: “That’s out of my hands. The only thing I can do is come prepared. ... Start, coming off the bench, whatever it is, whatever I’ve got to do to help this team win, it is what it is.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.