The Cleveland Cavaliers continued to embrace their rebuild. With the addition of cult hero Matthew Dellavedova, at least the Cavaliers organization appeased their fan base during the process.

On Dec. 7, the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards and Cavaliers finished a three-team trade. The details on what each organization acquired are as follows:

Washington- Sam Dekker (via Cleveland), 2021 second-round pick (via Cleveland).

Cleveland- Matthew Dellavedova (via Milwaukee), John Henson (via Milwaukee), 2021 protected first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick (via Milwaukee), 2022 second-round pick (via Washington).

Milwaukee- George Hill (via Cleveland), Jason Smith (via Washington).

After the trade was completed, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman told ESPN of the admiration and respect he had for both Hill and Dekker and their contributions in Cleveland, despite their short tenure.

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank George Hill,” Altman told reporters. “He helped us get to the NBA Finals last year and has been a consummate professional on the court and in our community. Both George and Sam Dekker went about their work here with professionalism and class, and we wish them the best.”

In addition, Altman said the trade allowed the Cavaliers organization to help solidify and stabilize their future. The opportunity to get Dellavedova back in Cleveland presented the Cavaliers fan base to relive some iconic franchise moments, in which “Delly” served an important role. Since Jordan Clarkson currently wears No. 8, Dellavedova had to switch over to No. 18. In his video, Dellavedova thanked Milwaukee, but remains optimistic about his return to the Cavaliers organization.

“At the same time, we’re very pleased to bring Delly back to Cleveland and want to welcome John Henson as well. This deal satisfied several important aspects for us in terms of having both long- and shorter-term benefits and assets involved,” Altman said. “We will continue to look for ways to improve and strengthen our position for the future, while enhancing our ability to compete and grow in the short term also.”

The acquisition of Henson remains overshadowed by the illustrious return of Dellavedova. At the moment, Henson continues to rehab a wrist injury that will likely keep him sidelined until the playoffs, which Cleveland won’t be a part of. Dellavedova is contributing to the Cavaliers right now. The organization must wait until next season to see what type of player they have in Henson.

Reflecting on Delly’s Moments in Cleveland

After going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers organization saw something in Dellavedova other teams failed to scout properly, or missed entirely. Following the 2013 Summer League, Cleveland announced they signed Dellavedova to a two-year/$1.3 million contract. He contributed right away.

During his rookie season, Dellavedova played in 72 games, averaging 17.7 minutes per contest. His role would increase after the return of LeBron James in 2014. While his aggressive defense and constant hustle got him praise from the Cleveland fans and rest of the league, his heroics would become solidified during the 2015 NBA Finals.

While some media outlets and opposing players labeled Delly a “dirty player,” it’s difficult to comprehend exactly what they meant. In a league that’s becoming softer as time goes on, Dellavedova showed the intensity a lot of players lack. His aggressiveness was on full display throughout the 2015 postseason, especially against the Golden State Warriors in the finals.

With the injuries to all-stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, Dellavedova stepped in to take responsibility of guarding the league’s Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry.

In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors to tie the series at one. While guarding Curry, Dellavedova held Curry to 0-of-8 shooting and four turnovers. In addition, Dellavedova sank two clutch free throws to help the Cavaliers win in overtime.

Dellavedova carried his clutch performance into Game 3, where he scored a playoff career-high 20 points. In the end, the Cavaliers lost 4-2 against the Warriors, but the aggressive and emotion-driven performances Dellavedova had against Curry and Golden State should be remembered for years to come.

While his role declined slightly, Dellavedova played an important part off the bench, allowing the Cavaliers to exact revenge on Golden State, defeating the Warriors 4-3 to obtain the franchise’s first NBA title after being down 3-1 in the series. Delly remains an integral part of the Cavaliers most iconic franchise moment.

His Time in Milwaukee

Since the Cavaliers could no longer afford to pay Dellavedova the salary he deserved, the organization agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with Milwaukee on July 7, 2016. Dellavedova signed a four-year/$38 million contract to play for the Bucks. It was challenging to accept Delly’s absence from Cleveland, but he deserved every bit of the contract Milwaukee gave him.

During the 2016-2017 season in Milwaukee, Dellavedova started in 54 of the 76 games he appeared in. That season, he reached a career-high in points (7.6), assists (4.7) and minutes (26.1) per game. With the emergence of Malcolm Brodgon and acquisition of Eric Bledsoe, Dellavedova saw his role with the Bucks become almost tertiary.

In the 2017-2018 season, Dellavedova only appeared in 38 games, where he started three of those. As the Bucks began to climb the ranks of the Eastern Conference, Dellavedova fell down the Milwaukee depth chart.

Before being traded back to Cleveland, Dellavedova only averaged 1.7 points and 2.4 assists per game in limited action due to an ankle injury. This season, he’s averaging a career-low in the majority of every statistical category. He’ll look to revitalize his career with the organization who originally gave him a chance to succeed.

Now and the Future

With the return of Dellavedova in Cleveland, several players expressed their delight at the prospects of the organization’s future. Dellavedova himself showed gratitude toward the Cavaliers organization. He said he’s more than happy to return home to the fans and former teammates.

“I’m glad my Aussie brother is back,” Tristan Thompson told ESPN. “Brings us veteran leadership, a guy that’s won before, a guy that’s going to push Collin [Sexton], control the game for the second unit and he’ll make shots. He’s good at throwing lobs to me, so I’m really happy about that. I think it will be good for our team, not just for myself, but for our team.”

In addition, rookie Collin Sexton said the acquisition of Dellavedova provides the opportunity for him to learn and grow.

“Everybody said he’s a real good guy, a real good locker room guy,” Sexton said. “We lost George, which was my vet. So I’ll have to talk to Dellavedova and he’ll be able to lead me how George led me. They say he practices hard too, so we’re going to have some battles.”

While his teammates expressed their optimism for what Dellavedova will bring to this Cavaliers team, Delly himself, as mentioned before, said he’s more than happy to be back in Cleveland. He didn’t play in the Cavaliers most recent loss to the Sacramento Kings, but the crowd still gave him the standing ovation he more than deserved.

In a FOX Sports report, Delly told the media; ““It makes me feel great. My time here was really special and I loved every minute of it. It makes me excited to get back out there and play for everyone in this city because it’s a special place. Obviously you don’t expect to pick and move, but it’s the NBA so it could always happen,” he said. “If it was going to be anywhere I’m definitely glad it’s here where I’m comfortable with familiar faces and a lot of friends. “

Right after the trade, Dellavedova praised the Bucks organization and its fans.

In his first game back on Monday (against Milwaukee), Dellavedova scored 11 points and recorded four assists with two rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. Since the game was played in Milwaukee, the Bucks fans gave Delly a well-deserved standing ovation. In Cleveland, however, it was more than a standing ovation. Both his teammates and crowd created an atmosphere Delly won’t soon forget.

During his first home game on Wednesday, the Cavaliers defeated the New York Knicks 113-106, in which Dellavedova recorded 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, to go along with “MVP” chants across the arena. With the atmosphere and crowd reactions during the game, the Cavaliers didn’t appear to be the 7-21 team they are.

Given the Cavaliers roster, it should be certain Dellavedova will play a significant role off the bench. In addition, he’ll help develop the young talent this Cavaliers roster maintains. More importantly, he should make the organization’s rebuild much more enjoyable.

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