The departure of Matthew Dellavedova and doubtful return of Mo Williams have left the Cleveland Cavaliers with only one battle-tested point guard. To remedy the situation, the team recently signed a low-key playmaker.
There were rumors that the Cavaliers were targeting Ricky Rubio, Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole this offseason. Each one of them would have made a decent backup to Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, the team is currently way over the salary cap.
The Cavaliers can no longer afford free agents like Chalmers or Cole. Rubio has been actively shopped by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the cap-stricken NBA champions don’t have the necessary mid-level assets to match the Spaniard’s $13.5 million paycheck for next season.
Instead, the Cavaliers went with three-year NBA veteran DeAndre Liggins. The team believed he was the best option in the $50,000 range. Liggins will receive a guaranteed pay of $25,000 for next season. He will get an additional $25,000 for the 2017-18 season, if the Cavaliers decide to keep him.
According to King James Gospel, Liggins is a defensive-minded point guard who can hold his own against the quickest NBA players. His tenacity on defense stemmed from his high school and collegiate background. He pestered Derrick Rose, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe even before they entered the NBA.
Liggins is expected to provide quality defensive minutes off the bench. His 6-foot-6 frame and 7-foot wingspan would be a handful for players like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook to deal with.
Kyrie Irving has steadily improved as a defender, but he lacks the physical tools to give opposing point guards any real trouble. Liggins would greatly help in that regard. He means to Irving what Shaun Livingston means to Stephen Curry.
The Orlando Magic selected Liggins in the second round of the 2011 Rookie Draft. The University of Kentucky product has also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat. He last suited up for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League. He won the D-League Defensive Player of the Year award in April, as per NBA D-League.