Dion Waiters has always been a very intriguing player, as his difficult character, his hero-ball mentality, and his stubbornness always make him commit avoidable mistakes despite being a very talented shooting guard.
Nonetheless, apparently Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra managed to keep him in check in his first season as a member of the Miami Heat, but several nagging injuries wound up keeping him sidelined for 36 games through the year.
Still, Waiters left some pretty nice averages of 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 0.9 steals on 42.4% from the field and 39.5% from beyond the arc, so he’s definitely going to be a hot name during this upcoming free agency. So, let’s take a look at the top 5 destinations for the 5-year pro.
5. Brooklyn Nets
Let’s face it: The Nets are completely lost and aren’t going to get better for the foreseeable future, but if Waiters wants to get paid big time and get more than 20 shots per game, this would definitely be his best choice. Waiters could finally be a team’s primary scorer, something he’s always wanted since being drafted out of Syracuse. I wouldn’t expect many checks in the W column though.
4. New York Knicks
Waiters would be a pretty good fit for the Knicks' athletic backcourt alongside Derrick Rose, although he wouldn’t have that many shots with Porzingis besides him, and he won’t have a huge chance to make a playoff push either. Still, the Knicks could offer him a nice paycheck while trying to have a breakout year in one of the league's biggest markets. Yeah, just what the Knicks need: A guy like Dion Waiters. Am I right?
3. Orlando Magic
The Magic lost faith in Victor Oladipo and sent him to the Thunder, but they don’t seem to trust Mario Hezonja either, and Waiters could easily overtake Fournier’s starting role on Frank Vogel’s team. Dion would definitely improve their roster while also being their go-to-guy on offense, although they would still be ages away from competing.
2. Miami Heat
He could just keep things simple and give the Heat another shot, as he thrived in Spoelstra’s offense and even managed to gain respect from their fanbase. The Heat didn’t have a good year, mainly because of injuries, but they still managed to put together a nice playoff run until the very last week of the season, and he’s already proven to be a great fit in South Beach.
1. Dallas Mavericks
This one’s a tricky one, but Dallas Mavericks can use a small ball lineup with Waiters - Matthews - Barnes on the court. Besides the Heat, the Mavericks would be Waiters’ best choice if he wants to play for a ring and not just for the cash, although he’s shown that he doesn’t take benching quite well and could create a lot of locker room trouble. Still, if he wants to prove his detractors wrong, he should just shut his big mouth and ball with the Mavs.