CLEVELAND (AP) — Matthew Dellavedova is coming back to the Cavaliers. He won’t recognize them.
Cleveland re-acquired the popular, scrappy guard on Friday in a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards.
The Cavaliers also received forward John Henson and 2021 first- and second-round picks from Milwaukee, and a 2022 second-rounder from Washington. The Cavs sent guard George Hill and a 2021 second-round selection to the Bucks, and forward Sam Dekker to the Wizards. Milwaukee also got forward Jason Smith from Washington.
Affectionately known to Cleveland fans as “Delly,” Dellavedova was a key member of the Cavs’ 2016 title team before he signed with the Bucks later that summer. He’s not the same player, and the Cavs are far from being the same team, but his return will soften what has been a difficult season.
Cleveland is just 5-20 and rebuilding in the wake of LeBron James’ departure last summer.
“I’m glad my Aussie brother is back,” Cavs center Tristan Thompson said following a 129-110 loss to Sacramento. “Brings us veteran leadership, a guy that’s won before, a guy that’s going to push Collin (Sexton), control the game for the second unit and he’ll make shots. He’s good at throwing lobs to me, so I’m really happy about that.
“I think it will be good for our team, not just for myself, but for our team.”
Hill helped the Cavs reach the Finals last season, but the team wanted to unload his contract while giving rookie Sexton more playing time.
Sexton has already heard stories about Dellavedova.
“Everybody said he’s a real good guy, a real good locker-room guy,” he said. “We lost George, which was my vet, so I’ll have to talk to Dellavedova and he’ll be able to lead me how George led me. They say he practices hard too, so we’re going to have some battles.”
The Bucks are getting a 46-percent shooter from 3-point range in Hill, who fits into their new long-range shooting philosophy under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer, plus a backup to starter Eric Bledsoe. They also could potentially save roughly $16 million in salary, assuming they waive Hill after this season.
“We’re excited to welcome George and Jason to the Bucks organization,” GM Jon Horst said. “George provides us added depth and experience at the guard position, while Jason gives us another front-court player who can stretch the floor.”
There was an urgency to get the deal agreed to before 6 p.m. on Friday because only players on rosters by then can be re-packaged in other trades before February’s deadline.
Hill’s days were numbered in Cleveland. The Cavs are re-shaping their roster with an eye on landing a major free agent in 2020, and Hill was no longer part of the long-term plans because of his age and the team’s commitment to Sexton’s development.
Hill recently returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury, a setback that only delayed the Cavs in pulling off a deal to add more assets. Cleveland recently traded sharpshooter Kyle Korver to Utah for two picks in 2020 and 2021.
The 28-year-old Dellavedova will get a chance restart his career with the Cavs. The Australian had been buried on Milwaukee’s bench and is averaging just 1.7 points and 2.4 assists in 12 games.
Henson recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. He’s averaging 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 14 games.
Dekker was in his first season with the Cavs, who got him in an August trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds but missed significant time with a severely sprained left ankle.
“This trade allows us to continue to work to improve our team and gives us a young, developing player in Sam whose versatility and athleticism at the forward position will allow him to earn an opportunity to contribute,” said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld. “We wish Jason the best moving forward and appreciate the value he brought to our team as a great teammate and true professional.”
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