Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here's why Cavaliers fans should always be thankful to Jason Williams for turning up 10 seconds late to practice

This "sliding doors" gem comes from Reddit's NBA forum, posted by LemmeHollaAtMyBabies earlier this week:
It’s February 2008. Shaq is in Miami now a full season removed from the Heat’s victorious 2006 Finals win. He is averaging career lows in points (14.2), rebounds (7.8) and blocks (1.4). Due to his increasing number of injuries and extremely low production despite the $20 million per year Pat Riley had him signed on till 2010 for, things weren’t looking too good. Come a standard weekly practice and the following happens in Shaq's own words:
" There was a lot of tension between Pat and the players. So we're about to start practice and Jason Williams comes in about ten seconds late. Pat being Pat, he starts swearing at him and screaming, "Get the hell out of here!"... I tell Pat we're a team and we need to stick together, not throw guys out of the gym. Pat is screaming at me and says if I don't like it, then I should get the hell out of practice, too. That's when I said, "Why don't you make me?" I start taking a couple of steps towards Pat. Udonis Haslem steps in and I shove him out of the way. Then Zo tries to grab me. I threw him aside like he was a rag doll. Now it's me and Riley face-to-face, jaw to jaw. I'm poking him in the chest and he keeps slapping my finger away and it's getting nasty. " 
Shaq was on the block by the end of the week. On February 6, 2008, Shaq is traded to the Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. 
Now with Shaq gone after a year and Mourning recently retired, the Heat needed a third big man alongside Joel Anthony and Mark Blount . On February 13, 2009, Heat trade Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks from the Suns, for Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon, a 2010 2nd round pick and 2011 first round draft pick. They now have the back up big man they need, and 3 trade assets in Moon and two draft picks. 
With the Cavs needing a back-up small forward behind LeBron James, they sign Moon to an offer sheet on July 17, 2009, which Miami chooses not to match. 
Come 2011, the Clippers are no longer interested in their ageing and mildly productive point guard Baron Davis and need a younger point guard, as well as a small-forward considering they only had one prior to drafting Al-Farouq Aminu. On February 24, 2011, they trade Baron Davis and a first round pick for Mo Williams, and the only other player on the Cavs roster that fits within their needs, Jamario Moon. 
Come May 17 and its the NBA Draft Lottery. Cavs have a 19.9% chance of winning the first pick with their own, and a mere 2.8% with the Clippers pick. By half a stroke of a miracle, the Clipper's pick that was gifted in an almost meaningless trade ends up being the number 1 pick. 
On June 23rd, 2011, that pick turns into Kyrie Irving. 
TL;DR - Jason Williams rocks up late to practice, results in a fight between Pat Riley and Shaq that ends in Shaq being traded. Causes a ripple effect of trades that ends up with Clippers trading away a first round pick that turns into Kyrie Irving. 

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