A former Cleveland Cavalier believes he could have altered the course of NBA history.
With LeBron James reportedly set to become a free agent again, ex-Cav Dajuan Wagner is looking back at what could have been.
Wagner played only four seasons in the NBA after being drafted by the Cavs with the No. 6 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Wagner was a high school scoring wonder and showed immense promise but was plagued by ailments, his career cut short after playing only 11 games in the 2004-5 season then needing to have his colon removed.
One of the major points of reasoning for LeBron’s decision to exit Cleveland in the summer of 2010 was that his surrounding cast with the Cavs wasn’t offering enough support. In a piece in SLAM Magazine, Wagner asserts that had he been able to stay on the court, James’ move would’ve never had to happen.
"LeBron wouldn’t have had to leave Cleveland. If I would have stayed healthy, he wouldn’t have had to leave. If I was healthy from the beginning, hell no. With Boozer, with Z [Zydrunas Ilgauskas], nah," he says, recalling a young and talented–if not successful–Cavs team. "We could have done some things."
Wagner had talent but enough to solely sway a generational star one way or the other? Former Cav Carlos Boozer buys into the idea – to an extent.
"If Dajuan Wagner would have stayed healthy, man, who knows? He could have been a three- or four-time All-Star, easily–easily, especially because the next year, we got LeBron. Who knows what could have happened down the line?"
Wagner is a classic case of "what could’ve been." Is Wagner’s idea crazy? Maybe, especially considering the fact that he shot a little over 36 percent from the field in the 103 NBA games in which he did see action.
Compare that with the numbers of Daniel "Boobie" Gibson, who shot 46 percent from the field during James’ last season in Cleveland, and Wagner seems a little more deluded about the impact he could’ve made.