BY SAM AMICO
When the Cleveland Cavaliers brought back Mo Williams, it wasn’t solely because he’s proven he can still score 50.
Winning a championship, after all, takes chemistry. And when it comes to leadership, Williams said he’s basically an expert.
“I think that’s one reason LeBron (James) is comfortable with me, and the Cavs are comfortable with me and brought me back — just knowing that I’m a strong voice,” Williams told SiriusXM NBA Radio earlier this week. “I have a strong personality and I’m a team guy.”
Williams first played for the Cavs from 2008 to 2011, when he started at point guard alongside James during the best regular seasons in franchise history.
But James then left for a four-year stint with the Miami Heat — and Williams was later traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for the draft pick that became Kyrie Irving.
“Worked out pretty well for the Cavs,” Williams said, smiling, shortly after Irving won Rookie of the Year in 2012.
James returned to the Cavs last summer, and Williams did the same in July — when Williams signed what is believed to be a two-year contract worth $4.3 million.
Williams is 32-years old now, a 12-year veteran who has played for seven teams. He’s played for four of those teams since being traded by the Cavs.
So call him a journeyman, but Williams believes his experiences after his first Cleveland stop will make him even more valuable this time.
“A leader is an extension of the coach. You have to be able to manage personalities,” he said. “Those things are important — being able to relate to all the guys.”
And Williams has seen (and been) it all.
“I’ve been the star of my team. I’ve been the second guy. I’ve been the third guy,” he said. “I’ve been the sixth man. I’ve been the guy that’s pissed off that he’s not playing. So I can relate to each guy.”
Man for all seasons
Williams averaged 14.2 points and 6.2 assists in 68 games last season (41 with Minnesota, 27 with Charlotte).
In one of those games, Williams erupted for 52 points. That happened in January and helped the woeful Timberwolves snap a 15-game losing streak. Not long after, he was traded to the Hornets.
But again, all are circumstances that make Williams believe he can relate to everyone from stars such as Irving and James, to role players such as Matthew Dellavedova and others.
“I can have that conversation with LeBron, because I’ve scored 50 points in a game,” Williams said. “I know how it feels to get hot. And I’ve been that guy who’s been pissed off because another guy is playing in front of him.
“So I can relate to every guy, and that’s the characteristics of a leader. Just having those kinds of experiences.”
Williams is expected to back up both Irving at the point and whoever starts at shooting guard. Williams likely will also play next to Irving when Cavs coach David Blatt decides to go small, as Blatt has been known to do.
But no matter what happens, Williams said he’s good with all of it — as he has played through nearly every situation. And yes, that is a big reason why the Cavs wanted him back.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about bringing everybody together, collectively, for one goal,” he said. “That’s my approach.”