One of the most popular faces from the Cleveland Cavaliers championship team is once again wearing Wine & Gold.
Fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova was dealt to the Cavaliers as part of a three-team trade yesterday evening. The man the fans call “Delly” is back after signing with the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2016.
Dellavedova got his start with the Cavaliers back 2013 as an undrafted free agent, but quickly made a name for himself.
He was a smaller, quicker version of another Cavalier favorite, Anderson Varejao. Dellavedova would be seen diving on the floor for loose balls and hustling for every second he was in the game.
Dellavedova even irked his own teammates at times, as he and point guard Kyrie Irving would get into heated battles on the practice floor.
Here was Tristan Thompson’s take on the Irving-Dellavedova relationship (Via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin) “Yeah, they used to f— each other up,” said Tristan Thompson, recalling the times he’d have to play peacemaker in Cavs training camp in the fall of 2013 when Irving, the franchise player, and former No. 1 pick, was matched up with Dellavedova, the undrafted rookie free agent just trying to make the team. “They used to go after it every day. There would be times when they’d be ready to fight each other.”
Thompson would go on to say that anger slowly turned into respect as Irving realized “Delly” was not going to change his style and it would make him better.
When LeBron came back in the summer of 2014, Dellavedova was kept as a member of the Cavaliers, and soon became one of LeBron’s favorite teammates.
Though Delly played in mostly a backup role, his contributions went a long way. Having a gritty, hard-nosed player on your side gives your team an edge and often times makes others on the team work harder.
Delly would literally give his all to the team, including playing so hard in the 2015 NBA Finals that he needed to go the hospital afterward to receive an IV.
With the NBA becoming a more finesse league the past decade, Delly is a throwback to a couple decades ago.
Though he was a menace for his teammates in practice, Delly frustrated the heck out of his opponents. Back in 2015 Stephen Curry was breaking out and becoming one of the leagues top stars.
Delly was up to the task and frustrated and bothered Curry all series long. Wherever Curry was, Delly was hot on his heels.
You can still expect that same type of effort from Delly on a nightly basis. Even with no championship on the line, it does not matter. Dellavedova will work his tail off regardless.
Not only will Delly bring a toughness to the Cavaliers, he brings a veteran, championship experience to the locker room. Coach Larry Drew can use him to mentor rookie point guard Collin Sexton.
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) December 9, 2018
Look what Delly did for Kyrie’s game early in his career. Having Sexton going up against Delly in practice will only do him good.
Cleveland is obviously in rebuild mode, and is looking to acquire assets for the future. While Delly is a nice addition, the bigger addition was the future first-round pick they got from Milwaukee.
Nonetheless, having a fan favorite back in town will be a welcomed sight for fans of the Wine & Gold. Delly’s positive attitude on and off the court will serve this organization well.
While Delly may not make a huge impact on the court, his quiet leadership will be nothing but positive for the young players on this team. Seeing Delly dive for loose balls, and pressure a point guard for a full 94 feet will surely push the other players to step their game up.
Get your Delly trays ready, the Aussie is back in town.