Although his time with the Los Angeles Lakers was limited to seven regular season games and the postseason, Dion Waiters walked away with an NBA title. Now it’s possible that the 29-year-old guard will walk away from the NBA.
Drafted fourth overall in 2012 by the Cleveland Cavaliers out of Syracuse, Dion Waiters averaged 14.7 points per game as a rookie and a career-high 15.9 points per game the following season. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015 and then had three solid seasons with the Miami Heat from 2016 through 2019. Dion Waiters played well with the Heat, but his time in Miami wasn’t without issues. He battled injuries and was ultimately traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Waiters never suited up for Memphis and was traded to the Lakers. When the Lakers declined to extend his contract, Waiters indicates he knows what’s going on and can’t deal with the politics in the game and will retire before that.
There is a bit of a surprise that there hasn’t been interest in Dion Waiters as he hit free agency. After all, he’s still in what would be considered the prime years or late prime years of his career. He averaged a solid 11.9 points per game in his seven games with the Lakers and is averaging 13.1 points in 419 career games.
Dion Waiters is a 6’ 3”, 215-pound shooting guard that can also play the point if needed. From a purely athletic, basketball ability perspective, I believe it’s a big mistake for Waiters to walk away from the game. He has plenty to offer a young team as a veteran leader and also for an experienced team that needs a solid backup with experience. However, there is more to a decision to retire than ability to play the game and Waiters appears fairly certain to opt to walk away.