CLEVELAND, Ohio – It was an emotional night for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had to say goodbye to a team mate for the second time in less than two weeks before being girded by the Sacramento Kings 129-110.
Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye, the two unbeaten or exiled players of the NBA title team in 2016, were saddened that George Hill had to leave.
The other side of these feelings, however, could be seen in the light of old buddy Matthew Dellavedova's return.
"I'm glad my Aussie brother is back," Thompson said. "He brings us an experienced lead, a guy who's won before, a guy who's going to drive Collin (Sexton) and control the game for the second unit, he's going to beat and he's good at praising praise. "
Dellavedova became a valued team mate during his three years in Cleveland, before signing with Milwaukee in the summer of 2016.
Known for his struggle, determination and hustle and bustle, the former free agent became a key element in the team's rotation, consolidating his status as a Cleveland cult hero with each dive, 3-pointer and defense stop. In the playoff rounds, the "Delly" songs echoed through the Quicken Loans Arena, and this roar will come back on its first announcement.
Thompson was asked to think about his favorite memory of Dellavedova. He returned to Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals – a night that ended in hospital with Dellavedova, after exhausting himself when he tried to stem Golden State star Stephen Curry.
"He left everything in line and had to get an IV after the game," Thompson said. "That was a crazy, heroic moment by Delly."
Driven by coffee, Dellavedova's favorite drink, and what he sometimes dived at halftime, his unrelenting thrill became infectious, part of Cleveland's identity. The new Cavs hope to tap into that.
"Delly is great, I'm glad to have him back," Channing Frye told cleveland.com before leaving the arena on Friday night. "I think his tenacity and his ability to change the pace of the game, and his familiarity, he is a master, consummate professional, good for our locker room and glad he will bring the good coffee beans into the line."
In addition to the improved cups of Joe (Dellavedova once had his own coffee line called G & # 39; Day Mate) and the looming praise for Thompson, the Cavs believe that Dellavedova will be an important and necessary cultural element as the team goes through this arduous team trudges to rebuild.
Statistically, Dellavedova was awful in Milwaukee this year partly because of an ankle injury. He has an average of only 1.7 points in 12 games, as the playing time is difficult to achieve. According to head coach Mike Budenholzer, Dellavedova was "great" for the Bucks.
Like Alec Burks, a player the Cavs recently acquired for Kyle Korver, Dellavedova will have a greater chance and should give the Cavs a more traditional point guard to lead the second unit – a role played by combined guards Jordan Clarkson was shared. Burks and sometimes even Cedi Osman, depending on how his minutes are staggered.
Getting back Dellavedova, along with John Henson and a few picks in a deal with three teams involving Washington, was expensive. It meant the Cavs kept going from Hill. That, of course, always seemed likely due to his contract situation. It was still not easy.
"I want to thank George Hill," said General Manager Koby Altman. "He helped us out at the NBA Final last year and was a great pro on the field and in our community."
Hill has been instrumental in helping Sexton grow and taking the boys under his wing, as well as Hill and Kings in the second year of De'Arton Fox.
"We lost George, he was my vet," Sexton said of Hill. "He helped me the most, just as I was preparing for the game and how I should come in. It's almost as if I know the other team's scouting report and knew what they're going to do and make sure It's just a great guy I've been able to talk to since day one, and he helped me in that starring role – a big influence on me. "
The Cavs acquired Hill of Sacramento last season at the close – one day they sent six players into the seasonal overhaul of Altman.
Hill started the first 10 games of the year before a shoulder injury sent him off the sideline for about three weeks.
When Hill returned, coach Larry Drew decided to put him back on the grid next to Sexton to promote the rookie's growth as an absentee ball. It probably also had a side effect – a chance for Cleveland to introduce Hill and show other competitors like Milwaukee that he was healthy and effective.
In conversation with The athlete Before Hill left for Milwaukee, Hill lamented a missed free kick in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. His first finale, Hill's Miss, came before JR Smith's epic mistake when Smith grabbed the rebound and dribbled the clock in a draw rather than throwing another shot at the basket.
Hill was brought here to help the Cavs win a LeBron James championship last season. They were running short and were swept by the warriors. Then James left.
So here are the Cavs – sending veterans away in exchange for pickpicks, just the opposite of the last four years.
Korver was the first victim. Hill became the newest.
"He's a good guy, a great guy, a great vet," Frye said. "At that point, the organization has gone in a different direction, and I think they're putting it in a situation where it's going to be very successful, and I'm glad we met and became friends who did not stop We want to win, We all have this competitive spirit and that was just a sign that our locker room is really good, regardless of our records. "
It could even get better with the arrival of Dellavedova.