Cavaliers forward Luol Deng keeps reading about how much Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters don’t care for each other. Some believe one of the talented guards must go. They can’t co-exist. Some contend they are almost mortal enemies. However, Deng saw no evidence of that behind closed doors in the locker room, players’ lounge or workout facility. “It’s a distraction,” he said. “I mean all this stuff that I hear, but when we’re in the locker room with these guys every day, they love each other. I can’t say one word or one incident, and when we get on the court, we never think twice about it.” Deng, traded to the Cavs on Jan. 7, believes if the two players reach their vast potential, it could pay off in a major way. “They have to be willing to work together, watch tape together, watch tape with the coach,” he said. “They’ve shown they can play together. There’s times where they’ve looked great. They’re human, but in terms of can they play together? Yeah. I’ve played in this league for 10 years and I know they can.” Irving is a two-time All-Star. Waiters is a pure scorer. They are most effective with the ball in their hands. But giving up on either of them right now might be regrettable down the road. They are that talented. Instead of making it work, Cavs coach Mike Brown yanked Waiters from the starting lineup after nine games this season. Waiters became the team’s sixth man. Then, out of necessity, Waiters became the starter at shooting guard when Irving strained his left biceps tendon. Once Waiters got his second chance, he made the best of it. Waiters averaged 21.2 points and 4.2 assists in the last 15 games, sixth best in the Eastern Conference over that span. He also scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 15 games. “People put their 2 cents into it, but they made it seem like we hated each other and that’s the only part I don’t get,” Waiters said. “You’re not going to always see eye to eye on the court, especially with two ball-dominant guards. But you have to just continue to keep working with one another.” Waiters said they needed to learn how to play off one another and try to get better.
Luol Deng says Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters ‘love' each other
The Morning Journal | Apr 19