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Lost in all the hoopla of Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Isaiah Thomas squaring off against their former teams is the fact another Cavalier will be available for the Lakers, too.
Derrick Williams, who played 25 games for Cleveland last season, averaging 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 51 percent in 17.1 minutes, signed a 10-day contract wit Los Angeles on Friday.
Williams spent this season playing professionally in China, averaging 20 points and 6.6 rebounds.
The Southern California native is understandably excited to be playing for the team he grew up rooting for.
“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “A lot of nerves, but I’m just ready to play. The last game I played was in China so it’s going to be a big difference, but it’s going to be very good.”
The 6-foot-8, 240-pounder out of the University of Arizona said he had specific thoughts when he signed to play in China this season.
“I think I chose the China route for a reason,” Williams said. “I wanted to get away and really work on my game. That’s what I did and I’m glad to be in the position I am.
“I’m from Los Angeles, my family’s from here and I think that’s going to be a good thing not just for myself but for my family as well.”
Williams, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 draft, taken just after the Cavaliers took Kyrie Irving, picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The now-26-year-old has also played for the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Cavaliers before going to China this past Jan. 1. He played in China until Feb 11.
Lakers coach Luke Walton sees Williams as another option to provide se needed wing depth for the Lakers.
“He gives us another big body especially with Brandon [Ingram] being out,” Walton said. “He has played in the NBA, knows the NBA game and it will take him time to get familiar with our play sets and whatnot and get used to playing with the guys, but gives us another versatile option of a talented player that can play [small or power forward] for us.”