Dion Waiters, Lakers not worried about past, only how he can help in future
When it came to spending time with the Lakers before they signed him, Dion Waiters wasn’t worried much about his workout. It was the conversation with the team’s management that he was eager to have.
“It wasn’t none of that,” Waiters said when asked how much of the conversation focused on the past versus future expectations. “At the end of the day, I’m grown. So, you learn from your mistakes, at the end of the day. We don’t got to keep drilling on the past, things like that. You live and you learn. And I did that. So, they understood that and that was a short conversation.”
Waiters spoke to reporters on Saturday for the first time since he signed a minimum deal with the Lakers for the remainder of the season. It will be a while before he actually plays. He’s only played in three games this season and the Lakers are wary of rushing him into game action.
“He’s definitely a player that can help us,” coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s got the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack from the wing position. Can play off the ball with his catch-and-shoot game as well. He’s an athletic, tough defender.”
Waiters came to the Lakers after spending most of four seasons in Miami. He was suspended by the Heat three times in the fall. According to a person familiar with his meeting with the Lakers on Monday, Waiters took responsibility for his mistakes when he spoke with Vogel, vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and special advisor Kurt Rambis.
“I definitely see a guy ready to move past that,” Vogel said. “… We’re aware of his journey and we believe he’s someone that can help us.”
Waiters had some familiarity with the front office. Pelinka was his agent before he became the Lakers’ general manager.
“I know it’s a different atmosphere and different challenges every day for him,” Waiters said. “But Rob’s always been calm, cool and collected with certain situations so I feel like he’s been doing a great job and he only can get better.”
Although the Lakers want to hold Waiters out of games for now, he is participating fully in practice.
“He scrimmaged today with a couple of guys that didn’t play a lot last night and with some of our video guys,” Vogel said. “So, he’ll be in all of practice, the work that we do. … The biggest thing with him is getting his legs under him, so the more that he can play five-on-five, the better.”
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Waiters is the second player the Lakers have added in the last two weeks, having acquired Markieff Morris from the buyout market. Morris’ situation was different for the Lakers. Morris played two days after his signing became official because he had been playing for the Detroit Pistons throughout the season.
Vogel acknowledged the difficulty of integrating two players so late in the season.
“But there’s such value in having these two guys on our team come playoff time that everybody is going to benefit from it,” Vogel said.
Waiters says he just wants to help.
“It’s doing the little things, being a great teammate,” Waiters said. “Most importantly trying to find ways to help the guys. I think if I come in here and I work hard, I prepare myself, my preparation, just coming in doing everything I need to do to be ready for when my number is called.”
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