Heat news: Dion Waiters talks about his relationship with Cleveland locals
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Heat’s Dion Waiters talks about his relationship with Cleveland locals

Dion Waiters, Heat, Cavaliers

Though he’s no longer a member of the team, former Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters says he will always have love for the city of Cleveland.

The Cavs selected Waiters with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season. However, he was consistently bothered by a sprained ankle and loose cartilage in his knee, forcing him to miss 21 games over the course of that year.

In a recent interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Waiters noted the various interactions he had with fans during his tenure in Cleveland. The former Syracuse standout feels that he built a solid relationship with them, especially those living in “the hood.”

Waiters tells The Athletic that Clevelanders loved him because they could see him out at places like downtown restaurants and the bowling alley:

“Especially the people from the hood, they loved me. I’ve always been authentic,” Waiters said. He cherishes the few months he got to spend with LeBron, too, appreciating him for trying to be a mentor to Waiters before the trade.

“I’m always going to have love for Cleveland,” Waiters added. “Like I said, Cleveland took a chance on a kid from Philadelphia. At the end of the day, I’m always going to have love for them. When I come back, they always show me love. Show nothing but love. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. But I appreciate it, just to come back and the first game be here and get a win. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Waiters, now a member of the Miami Heat, had seven points, three assists and two rebounds in Wednesday night’s 117-92 victory over the Cavs. It was his first time playing in an actual game setting in over a year, as he was recovering from a foot injury.

“I was just really excited to get back,” Waiters told ESPN after Wednesday night’s game in Cleveland. It was nice — all the hard work you put in — to have those shots fall, it felt good. I had fun.”

The Heat moved to 18-18 with Wednesday’s victory. Their next shot at claiming a win comes on Friday, when they’ll welcome the Washington Wizards to South Beach.