Dion Waiters, selected in the first round of the 2012 draft, wants to return to the NBA. Waiters has been out of the league the past three seasons, but recently did a private workout in Las Vegas.
Several NBA scouts and executives attended Waiters’ training, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported. Waiters won an NBA title in his most recent season in the league when he had a brief seven-game stint with the Los Angeles Lakers inside the NBA bubble.
Waiters, now 31, believes he can still be an effective NBA player.
«I’m healthy. I just want that chance to show that I’m not who I once was,» Waiters said. «And I know a lot of people talk about that. But, for me, I think it’s more about showing that I’ve changed. That’s why I’m here, man. I still have that love. I still have that itch.»
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The bartenders also expressed confidence in his ability to contribute to a team on the court and in the locker room.
«I know I can still help a team win at the highest level on the pitch and even in the locker room as a veteran presence. So why not give it a try and see what happens? You never know.»
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Waiters has had his ups and downs, averaging 13.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists during his 10-year NBA career.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Waiters with the fourth overall pick in the draft, he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, and Lakers.
Waiters had a turbulent career with the Heat during the 2019-20 season. He was suspended multiple times over the course of the season. His rocky tenure with the Heat ended when he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, he was promptly fired, and then signed with Los Angeles.
Waiters expressed his regret when he spoke about the end of his time in Miami.
«I was so irresponsible and immature,» he said. «I let the Heat down. They were good to me. I didn’t handle it all that well.
«The things that were happening were avoidable if I had shut up and let my agent handle a lot of that stuff. And if I did that, we wouldn’t even be here today. I’d still be playing. Everything happens for a reason. I already looked in the mirror , bro. I read my hits. I read my misses. And now I just have to keep pushing and moving forward and living with the results.»
Waiters also opened up about his struggle with depression and anxiety during his first year out of basketball.
«When I stopped playing, I got anxious,» Waiters said. «I constantly worried about what would come next.»
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Waiters faces a difficult road in his quest to return to the NBA. But if there’s a team in need of a veteran guard who can take on a leadership role, Waiters would seem to fit the bill.