Dion Waiters will wear no. 23 for OKC, Kevin Durant welcomes him
The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to bring in Dion Waiters after trading for him in yesterday’s big three-team trade.
Waiters will wear no. 23 for the Thunder, who were initially said to be dealing Reggie Jackson to acquire Waiters. Jackson still remains in OKC, for now.
Kevin Durant, via The Oklahoman‘s Anthony Slater, on adding Waiters to the fold:
Kevin, your initial thoughts on Dion and the trade?
“I’m excited about bringing Dion aboard. A guy that has a lot of toughness. Being from the East Coast, I know a lot about Philadelphia, South Philly, where he comes from. Those guys are tough and they play with an edge. And that’s what we need here.”
Any kind of relationship with him prior to this?
“Just knowing him from playing against him. We’re gonna make him feel wanted. I don’t think he felt that the last couple years. He’s gonna fit in well. He’s gonna get comfortable real quick. It’s on the leaders — Russell, myself, Nick — to make him feel at home and feel special and let him play his game.”
Can he be James Harden-like for you guys?
“I’m not saying he’s James’ replacement, we’re far past that. But, yeah, he can play, can come off the bench for us and score and make plays. He’s a really good player, man. A lot of people take him for granted, I think. Because he’s been around and you hear different things about him that’s not true. But he can play basketball. So he just needs to come out here and be himself, be aggressive and make plays.”
Waiters was drafted no. 4 overall by the Cavaliers in 2012 out of Syracuse. He played for three different coaches in the last three years and now another new situation with Scott Brooks, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook.
The James Harden question was a fair one. The Thunder have certainly lacked that supplementary scoring option outside of Durant and Westbrook. Reggie Jackson has come on forcefully as a sixth man, but he’s the lone scoring threat for the Thunder off the bench. Some young pieces have developed for Oklahoma City in the early absence of Durant and Westbrook, but who knows, someone with the aggressiveness and mindset of Waiters could pan out to just be an offensive wild card they can play when the stars sit.
That of course is best case scenario for Waiters in his new home.