By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: Dion Waiters insisted Wednesday he is happy in Cleveland and does not want to be traded in the wake of an ESPN report that he approached General Manager Chris Grant and coach Mike Brown about getting out of Cleveland.
“It’s just nonsense,” Waiters said. “Like I said since we had the team meeting, it’s been nonsense. There’s been things thrown out there that haven’t been true at all.”
Waiters’ name has been involved in speculation and trade rumors following the Cavs’ heated team meeting two weeks ago. A league source said Wednesday the Cavs have received calls from other teams regarding Waiters, but have not made any.
Waiters was pulled from the starting lineup after that team meeting, but a team source insisted it had nothing to do with what transpired during the meeting. While C.J. Miles has been out with a strained calf muscle, Brown has elected to start undrafted rookie Matthew Dellavedova at shooting guard ahead of Waiters, whose move to the bench could be permanent as long as he’s a member of the Cavs.
Waiters and Kyrie Irving have struggled to develop an on-court chemistry together. ESPN reported Waiters is unhappy playing alongside Irving and believes Irving is given preferential treatment.
When asked if he and Irving can coexist, Waiters said, “that’s up to us. Both of us have to sacrifice for one another. Until then, we have to keep finding the chemistry.”
Asked if he and Irving are sacrificing for each other, Waiters said, “It’s a new system. It’s early. We’re still trying to get situated in a new offense. Time will tell. We just have to be patient and hope that it will work, have faith in the offense and Coach Brown. Hopefully we can turn this thing around.”
Waiters’ shooting and scoring numbers are down this season from his rookie year, but Brown said he still believes Waiters can be part of the future.
“He gives us an explosive scorer off the bench,” Brown said. “He’s extremely versatile, there’s a lot of things he can do. Still such a young player and he’s got a tremendous upside. Defensively he’s gotten better on a weekly basis. He can be an impact player in this league and for us for many years.”
With the off day today, LeBron James will host his Miami Heat teammates at his home in Bath before the team flies to Toronto for Friday’s game.
“We were able to push the flight back,” James said. “It was either do it at a hotel or do it at my house and I’d much rather do it at my house.”
James was asked if he’d be giving tours of the mansion.
“Only to the bathroom,” he said.
James spends plenty of weeks at his home in the offseason, but said he isn’t sure whether the three years away has soothed fans’ bitterness over his departure.
“I haven’t done the whole Family Feud thing where you ask 100 people on the street ‘Do you still like LeBron or not?’ ” James said. “As a basketball player and a man, I’ve grown over the years and I can just do one thing, continue to represent my family and do the things I love to do every day and that’s play the game of basketball.”
The Cavs were interested in signing Greg Oden before instead signing Andrew Bynum over the summer, leaving Oden to sign with the Heat.
Oden hasn’t appeared in a game during the regular season, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he’s getting closer.
“He’s getting in great condition, getting his body fat down, doing strength training,” Spoelstra said. “His legs are probably as strong as they’ve ever been, his hips, his core. We’re very encouraged by his progress, particularly when we met with him in July. We’re staying very disciplined to the plan we had, but he’s making great progress.”
James was asked if the gym renovation at St. Vincent-St. Mary stayed under budget.
“I gave them a million dollars,” he said. “They better be able to make a gym with it.”
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.