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.