Are Cavs Fans Changing Their Stance on Mo Williams?

When the Cavaliers saw their season with a premature exit from the playoffs, one of the biggest whipping boys was point guard Mo Williams.  Fans needed to point the finger, and it was Williams who averaged just over 12 points over the final seven games of the postseason. 

But just over two months later, could Williams actually be one of “us?”

In a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, Williams frequently found his name in the news as a player who needed to be replaced among the Cavaliers starting rotation.  Whether it was moving him to more of a shooting guard role or bringing him off of the bench for instant offense, fans and media alike were touting the 27-year-old’s liability on the defensive end as well as his penchant for going cold in big games. 

The 2009-10 season saw Williams average his lowest scoring figures (15.8 ppg) since the 2006-07 season.  He was very streaky, missed time with a shoulder injury and was a profound mismatch against both the Chicago Bulls and Celtics in the postseason.  Trade rumors began to circulate and Williams found his name attached to teammate Delonte West.  But in response to the mill, the point guard took to Twitter to plead his case to anyone who would listen.

“[Please] don’t trade me, I’m not ready to go,” said Williams.  ”I’m begging.  My work ain’t done yet.  I’m on both knees…[Please].  I’m serious.”

In an interview with The Plain Dealer,Williams stated that he loved the city of Cleveland and did not want to leave.  As this statement may have rung hollow to some, the fact that LeBron James – who Cleveland thought had his heart in the city – would subsequently slap his former team and organization in the collective face on national television might just make Williams’ comments mean that much more. 

When James made his decision, no member of the Cavaliers took it harder than Williams, at least in the public eye.  Using Twitter once again, he shot off late-night tweets that appeared to be textbook stages of the grieving process.

  • I can’t believe this is really real. This is surreal. So many emotions on one man decision. I wonder what is our next move.
  • The only thing, and I mean the only thing I disagree with is…. If he knew somewhere else was the destination. He should have spared CLE On national tv. But this was history so we might not understand the magnitude today. But when we look back on this, we might not Never see this again.
  • Love u bron and always will. I knowu made your decision for the rt reason but we could have got it done here and u would have enjoyed It in cle a whole lot more.
  • We got to step it up now that’s all. We will be good next year. And hearing our owner keeps me convinced.

Given what had taken place, fans rallied around Williams once again.  He and team owner Dan Gilbert were some of the lead voices in support of the team’s future immediately following “The Decision,” and fans appreciated this despite the bleak outlook. 

And then there was this…

“Come on D Wade, watch your mouth,” said Williams. “I read your article.”

Dwyane Wade, in an interview with the Associated Press, recently stated that it was James’ teammates that had let him down in the Celtics series which lead to the early exit.  And in the event that some fans still wanted Williams gone, his response to Wade – perhaps public enemy No. 2 at this stage – this morning was very well-received. 

Retweets of Williams’ message coupled with countless replies, mostly all in the positive, show that Cavs fans are clearly changing their opinion on the player.  As it stands, Williams would be accepting a lead role with the Cavaliers, likely increasing his scoring totals from the last two seasons.  Unfortunately, Williams is due almost $24 million over the next three seasons with a player option in 2012-13.  For a team looking to reload on younger, less-expensive talent, Williams continues to be one of the names that makes business sense to move.

But as we stated earlier this month, players that actually appreciate playing in Cleveland do not come around very often.  Case in point would be the free agency hunt of the past three seasons, a hunt that has not returned much in terms of high-level NBA talent.  Williams has provided Cavalier fans with something to cling to over the past two months.  Whether or not they will still have the opportunity to cling beyond this season remain to be seen.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

  • MattyFos

    Mo is tied for my favorite Cav with JJ. He was tied for second last year with JJ, only behind Quitness. I will not and have not spoke badly about Mo. He has always seemed like a genuine/humble guy. I’m glad the rest of Cleveland is done using Mo as their whipping boy.
    Yes, he has not shown up in the playoffs (minus game 1 against the Celtics)
    But I think Mo’s game will shine this year. The team is his, if he wants it. And I believe he does want it. His numbers will be better without LeProstidude dribbling around for 21 seconds. Mo can drive to the basket and he has a pretty mid range shot. He will be an all-star and there’s nobody who deserves that honor more than Mo.

  • MattyFos

    *The only thing, and I mean the only thing I disagree with is…. If he knew somewhere else was the destination. He should have spared CLE On national tv. But this was history so we might not understand the magnitude today. But when we look back on this, we might not Never see this again.

    *Love u bron and always will. I knowu made your decision for the rt reason but we could have got it done here and u would have enjoyed It in cle a whole lot more.

    I love those two tweets from Mo. I would give him a giant bear hug to introduce him into the North East Ohio community.

  • Rich

    I find it hard to complain about Mo’s contract when I see the team taking a serious look at Marvin Williams.

    Mo Williams is pretty much getting paid what he’s worth. It’s a fair contract imo.

  • MattyFos

    Mo’s defensive liabilities could have been swept under the rug if Mike Brown would have used the bench accordingly. Play Moon at the two or DWest at the two. And use either of them to cover Rose and Rondo. Slide Mo up to SG on defense, Ray Allen would have had a size advantage over Mo, but Mo has the quickness to close out on his threes and cover him off of screens.
    But, instead Brown played straight up and left our best defenders on the bench.

  • Titus Pullo

    I was never in favor of the Cavs getting rid of Williams, even before the Twitter.

    And as Rich pointed out, $8 million a year for him, in a league where Zach Randolph makes $17 million, Predraq Stojakovic makes $15 million and Andrei Kirilenko makes almost $18 million, ain’t all that bad.

  • stin4u

    Still luke warm on Mo, he’s endeared himself to cavs fans which is all well and good but remove the emotion and look at it rationally and Mo is another aging talent. I’m hoping he plays out of his mind to peak some interest in him and we can ship him off for some up and comers. Sorry Mo….although I will say I’m not glad I bought a #2 electric blue hardwood classic instead of a #13 or #23.

  • stin4u

    *I am glad I bought a #2 electric blue hardwood classic instead of a #13 or #23….egh…friday

  • stin4u

    @Matty – didn’t brown have Mo on Allen at one point in that series? When AP was playing Rondo? Maybe I’m mistaken I can’t really remember.

  • Nick

    People were critical if him because he had trouble staying in front of Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo. Hopefully they are critical of the rest of the league to because there aren’t many that can stop them. He will be a big piece for us next season.

  • Lloyd Braun

    I have always been a big Mo Williams fan and thought he took too much blame. He was the reason the Cavs won Game 1 against Boston and kept them in the game in Game 6 with ah uge first half.

    Rose and Rondo are quicker than any two PG’s in the league, all teams had trouble stopping them.

  • Jim

    Always have been a big fan of Mo. However, no amount of my love for his shooting or him as a person will mask his shortcomings. Simply put, he isn’t a starting guard on a championship team. I think he needs to be looked at just like everyone else on the team (sans Hickson at this point) as trade bait.

  • ben

    I’ve never disliked Mo. I just disliked his playoff performance. But he “gets” it. To be honest, I think ‘Twan does to.

    I don’t mean they “get” what it means to be in Cleveland, but I think they “get” what it means to be a professional athlete.

    And when it is so easy to lose it amongst all the money and fame, these guys should be commended.

  • sleepless in cincinnati

    I agree stin. Mo made supportive comments of cleveland when Lebenedict James tried to rip out the heart of the city. Take away that part and he has been a disappointment in the playoffs. 2 years in a row and its time to go. I would love to see him succeed but maybe a fresh start in another city while bringing us some young talent/relief from his $8 mil salary in return is best for both parties. Take whatever we can get and move on.

  • ben

    also re: MattyFos’ comments –

    I agree. I love Mike Brown, but creativity (for example, when you need to “mask” a defensive liability) was not his strong suit.

  • 216livingin404

    Right after the playoffs there was a lot of Mo-bashing going on. Mo can be hot and cold but him and Varejao were always my 2 fav Cavs behind LBJ. The day after The Decision I threw my #23 jersey off its hanger onto the ground and bought a Mo Williams jersey to replace it. I really hope they keep Mo cuz I think he’ll stabilize more now that LeBron is gone. I also like that Mo called out D Wade on his BS for that article blaming the Cavs for LeBron’s giving up.

  • Harv 21

    Classic case of the sofa that you were anxious to replace looking perfectly acceptable after you lose your job.

  • doug1121

    Mo was one of my favorite players in the 2008-2009 campaign but he’s proven himself to be a “Mr. February”-type who can light up the T-Wolves in the regular season but did not have the heart-guts-wherewithal-whatever to succeed when the Cavs really needed him. Two post-seasons outta Mo is enough for me. If the Cavs can get rid of that contract, i want to see him gone yesterday. Nice sentiments, nice guy, mediocre player. Cavs need to rebuild and Mo should not be part of that process.

  • MattyFos

    @Stin, he did. But like the rest of Brown’s adjustments, it came games after it should have been implemented. Also, as you said. It was AP, not Moon or DWest.

  • 216in614

    love it when Austin says…eany…meany…miny…Mooooooooooooooo Williams!!!

  • randallhank

    I agree with Rich on Mo Williams. Last year was an outlier as teams were trying to save money for 2010, so really good players got the MLE (though for extended years). Usually mid level players have been 5-8 in the rotation players. Mo Williams is clearly a top five guy. Frankly, it’s hard to find players with contracts in the $7-$9 million range. Many teams don’t have a single contract in that range. Most players seem to gravitate around the mid-level or make upwards of $10 million. I thought Williams’ contract had some value even when I thought Delonte should be the starter. Contending teams tend to have at least one player outside the starting lineup making above the midlevel. Another huge factor about Williams’ contract was that it covered his entire prime, through age 30 if he plays it out. Even on a rebuilding team, I’ll take a veteran like Williams at $8 million per year. It’s not a cap busting contract like Turkoglu’s or even Calderon’s. Sure, there are a couple of better players making that kind of money (Odom, Devin Harris, Gerald Wallace), but there are certainly worse players making that much and more.

  • Architrance

    I agree. I always thought Mo took too much of the blame for pooe overall team performances.

    I do think that he can be the heart and soul of this team. They should under NO CIRCUMSTANCES just trade him away in a salary dump, which I saw suggested on here. The ONLY way I trade him is if its to a potential title contender at the deadline that is willing to pay a high price (in young, high potential talent) to add an immediate piece for a playoff run.

    I think we can really identify with him and this team. He’s an under-appreciated underdog with great potential, who’s been shat on along with the rest of us. Now is his, and our time to shine. GO CAVS!

  • jj

    Get ’em, Mo!

  • Laura

    Mo has been my 2nd favorite player since he joined the Cavs so I’m thrilled that people are coming around.

  • jj

    Agree with #21 and anyone else who said the same. With a .500 team, offense sells tickets.

  • MattyFos

    My favorite story about Mo happened in the week following Alabama beating Texas in the NCAA National Championship.

    Mo was injured and sitting at the announcers table with AC and Fred. He was mic’d talking about the team and stuff. Boobie was in the game and Mo was harassing him. He was yelling stuff like “Hey Boobie, Who beat Texas for the National Championship?” in jest. it was really funny. AC was dying laughing and was saying stuff like “Man, Mo, Boobie’s busy.”

  • mgbode

    Mo is acting squirelly…and we need squirelly right now.

    as for Mike Brown masking him, Matty brings up a good point with not using Moon (as AP got abused by Rondo down low). but, it was also a result of too many trades for offensive skill people without regards to defense. Hard to hide Mo, AP, Jamison, and Shaq when they are all on the floor together (and yes, I realize that AP and Shaq are good defenders on some matchups).

  • Vengeful Pat

    Yep, I also think that every other PG in the league gets beat by Rondo or Rose off the dribble. You don’t think Derek Fisher got abused by Rondo? Of course he did, but once he did he had to beat Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and/or Andrew Bynum. That’s a tough task. The Cavs need someone who can defend the rim once a player gets through on the drive, and they just don’t have that. Hickson could potentially turn into that guy as he’s a good shot-contester, but he’s not yet a good shot-blocker.

  • mydogsnameisbuckeye

    Yeah, hate to follow the ‘bandwagon’, but I’ve never been against Mo. He has always been my top fav after LeLoser. I can’t hate on the dude, and when I see people ragging on him I always cringe. His recent, outspoken voice about all of the situation just solidifies my enjoyment for him as a player. I really can’t wait to see what he does this season without LeDoushebag. I don’t really care if it’s going to be a losing season, we’re going to see different players all around without LeBlewItInThePlayoffs, and I’m stoked.

  • Chris

    I love mo when he’s finishing at the rim. I hate him when he’s settling for his inconsistent jumper.

    He’s not the point guard we need, though. We need a traditional one.

  • Franchise

    I always thought mo was playing out his element with lebron basically running the point and him running the 2 what i didnt like was the starting line up with anthony parker starting and jamison i noticed when they had the original line up with z,delonte, mo the cavs where winning game 5 against boston then mike brown puts parker, shaq and jamison in we got destroyed…….my opinon for mo is for him to choose his shot selection a little better because if he takes bad shots and miss them he hurts the team…….and for dwades comments he shouldnt be commenting on the cavs when he got put 5 games against the celtics thats why he nneds two supestars to win a title what a loser

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