INDEPENDENCE — Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams isn’t too proud to beg.
Williams, the subject of trade rumors with the Portland Trail Blazers heading into tonight’s NBA Draft, posted a message on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon asking the Cavaliers not to move him.
It read: “Pls don’t trade me, I’m not ready to go. I’m begging. My work ain’t done yet. I’m on both knees….pls. I’m serious.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Williams has been a very valuable contributor in the regular season in his two years with the Cavaliers, helping them to 66 wins in 2008-09 and 61 in 2009-10, both NBA bests.
He averaged 17.8 points his first season with Cleveland and 15.8 this past year, when his role was reduced due to the addition of center Shaquille O’Neal and later power forward Antawn Jamison, which sometimes left the Alabama product as the fourth option in an offense that also featured two-time league MVP LeBron James.
Much more troubling to the Cavaliers is that Williams has struggled mightily in the playoffs, particularly in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals loss to Orlando and this year in Cleveland’s loss to Boston in the conference semifinals.
While his postseason scoring averages have been respectable — 16.4 in 2009 and 14.4 in ’10 — Williams shot less than 41 percent from the field both years.
Equally bad were his defensive shortcomings, particularly this year against Boston’s Rajon Rondo, who repeatedly torched the Cleveland point guard.
When Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert met with the media after the Celtics eliminated Cleveland, he made it clear he wanted to put together a team that was built for the postseason.
“The playoffs are very, very different,” Gilbert said. “We’re going to figure out what that exact difference is and try to build our team (for that).”
None of this means Williams will be traded — or is even close to being traded, for that matter.
The Cavaliers, who still don’t have a head coach and face James’ impending free agency in July, are simply exploring all their options.
Williams also has three years remaining on his contract, at a total of $26.3 million, so even if new general manager Chris Grant is looking to deal Williams, finding a taker won’t be easy.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.