After signing a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers on Thursday, Derrick Williams made his debut for the team on Thursday night and looked good, scoring 12 points in 22 minutes and converting all of his field goal attempts. While there’s no need for the Cavs to make any decisions on Williams yet, a team source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that the former No. 2 overall pick has a “strong chance” to earn a spot on the roster for the rest of the season.
Although Williams may not be the “playmaker” LeBron James publicly called for last month, he’s a fresh body who can play multiple positions and can provide insurance for some of the team’s veterans, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. One team source tells McMenamin that the Cavs view Williams as a “high reward, low risk” addition, despite the fact that his salary carries a $2.50 tax charge for every dollar, given the club’s tax standing.
The Cavs currently have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Williams occupying the 15th and final roster spot on a 10-day deal. Re-signing him to a second 10-day contract and then a rest-of-season deal when his current pact expires would tie up a roster spot for a Cleveland team that will be searching for additional upgrades at the deadline. However, the club is also carrying Chris Andersen, who is out for the season with a torn ACL — trading or releasing Andersen would free up an extra roster spot to allow for another addition.
Williams’ initial 10-day contract with the Cavs expires during the All-Star break, and the regular season won’t resume until several hours after the trade deadline passes on February 23, so Cleveland will likely keep that 15th roster spot open as the club explores deadline moves.