If you didn’t know already, the Miami Heat were one of four teams reportedly on Kyrie Irving’s preferred trade destinations, and Pat Riley’s South Florida squad was one of six teams to officially make an offer for the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard’s services, so there’s some fire to that smoke.
Naturally, anyone who watched Irving and Heat guard Dion Waiters — back-to-back top-five picks by the Cavs in 2011 and 2012 — steer the Cavs to a 57-107 record in two seasons before LeBron James returned to Cleveland and Waiters was shipped to Oklahoma City remained skeptical about how the two might coexist in Miami, given the conflicting reports about whether there’s a rift between them:
Cavs coach Blatt told Waiters he needed spot-up shooter. Waiters resisted. Believes he's better than Kyrie, thought Kyrie "favored" by Cavs.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 6, 2015
So, when Waiters — whose confidence Heat coach Erik Spoelstra described only as “irrational” — was asked how he felt about Irving potentially joining him in the Miami backcourt and trying to live out his dream of playing free from LeBron’s alpha shadow, the Heat guard gave the answer you’d expect from a guy who claimed at 21 he’s “next up as far as shooting guards” behind “Kobe [Bryant] and [Dwyane] Wade and those guys,” who demanded the ball from James by clapping his hands incessantly, who insisted on not passing to Kevin Durant for wide-open layups and who penned a Players’ Tribune piece after a late-season ankle injury entitled, “The NBA is lucky I’m home doing damn articles.”
Here’s what he told HipHopSince1987.com at the 8:36 mark of the following video, via SLAM:
“It would help,” Waiters said of adding Irving. “I’m not against that. Just know there’s an alpha male over there too in myself. I think that’s my biggest thing with everybody saying, ‘Oh, he got irrational confidence.’ Man, like I tell everybody, if I can make it from here, I can make it from anywhere. My mom got shot. My dad got shot. C’mon, bro, there ain’t nothing I haven’t seen. Why not? I need that confidence to get through. Every day I need that confidence to get by. It ain’t got nothin’ to do with ball. It’s who I am. It was instilled in me, man. But you know there’s an alpha male over there already. If you come down, we can boogie together.”
And you wonder why anyone ever thought Irving and Waiters couldn’t coexist.
For the doubters out there, though, Waiters went on to say he “never ever had a problem” with Irving, “I’d be lying if I said I was surprised” by Kyrie’s insistence on leaving LeBron’s side, and then added of his former Cavaliers teammate’s trade request: “I’m going to ride with that decision.” All good, then.
But wait, Waiters also said, despite all the rumors about mutual interest between Irving and the Heat, he has yet to talk to his ex-teammate. His response: “I’ve got to worry about Dion. I can’t worry about everything else that’s going outside the world, man.” And you thought there wasn’t anything better Waiters could say than, “If you come down, we can boogie together.” Underestimate Dion at your peril.
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