Former Arizona Wildcats standout Derrick Williams, out of a job two days ago in the NBA, smiled last night when asked about being part of the “Wildcat Club” with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye are Williams’ new teammates.
“Ah man, it’s already started,” said Williams of the “Club”. “Two other guys who went to Arizona helps out so much. (Kevin) Love is another Pac-10 guy. I’ve known these guys for a while now. It’s all coming together.”
Williams, Frye and Jefferson is the second Wildcat trio in the NBA in the last two years. Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Solomon Hill were teammates with Indiana at the start of the 2015-16 season.
The most legendary trio was Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler and Brian Williams (Bison Dele) as part of the 1996-97 NBA champion Chicago Bulls.
Williams, 25, signed a 10-day contract earlier Thursday for $67,700 and scored 12 points in 22 minutes. He made all three of his shots and was 6-of-8 from the foul line in the 118-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A team source told Cleveland.com that Williams has a strong chance to make the team for the rest of the season.
His salary-plus-tax number for this 10-day contract is $200,000. He can get a second 10-day contract for the same number, and then the Cavs would have to sign him at a pro-rated salary for the rest of the season.
Before the game, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said WIlliams was signed in part because of injuries to J.R. Smith (fractured right thumb) and Iman Shumpert (sprained left ankle), leaving the Cavs limited athletically on the wing.
“We just thought it was a good signing for us and he was a good player who I always liked,” Lue said. “His energy, his athleticism. What he does getting to the free throw line, driving the basketball.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.