Williams ready to help lessen LeBron's load on offense

Updated: August 14, 2008, 5:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CLEVELAND -- Mo Williams hasn't been a Cavalier for long, but he already knows his role: Take some pressure off LeBron James and help Cleveland win a championship.

Mo Williams

Williams

Just after James led the U.S. to a spot in the medal round at the Olympics in Beijing, Williams told reporters on a teleconference Thursday that he can help the Cavaliers superstar.

"Watching from afar with LeBron, he handles the ball a lot," Williams said. "I think that I can take a load off of him handling the ball at times. He's a guy that kind of sets his teammates up a lot. I think I can relieve him from that. That will help him as far as being a little fresher at the end of the season."

The Cavaliers acquired Williams from Milwaukee on Wednesday in a three-team trade in which Cleveland sent guard Damon Jones to the Bucks and forward Joe Smith to Oklahoma City.

Williams, who averaged 17.2 points per game last season, gives the Cavaliers a player who can create his own shot, push the ball in transition and give the team a more dynamic look on offense, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said.

"Mo's quickness with the basketball is something we haven't had since I got here," Brown said.

James was forced to carry the Cavaliers offense last season, which ended in a Game 7 loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. It was a step back for the franchise after making its first trip to NBA finals a year earlier.

With two years left on James' contract, the Cavaliers have been under pressure to find a player to complement their star. James was clearly frustrated after the defeat to Boston in Game 7, saying, "We need to continue to get better. We know that if that means some personnel changes need to happen, then so be it."

In Beijing, James gave his vote of approval for the trade.

"It can help us. I think Mo is a very good point guard, he can create for himself and create for others, so it's a great move. I think it's an 'A,' " he told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan.

One criticism of Williams has been his defense, something that has been the Cavaliers' strength since Brown took over three seasons ago.

"My actions are going to speak louder than my words," Williams said. "I know what it takes to win and it's no secret it takes defense to win."

Williams, who has five years left on a six-year, $51.5 million contract, acknowledged he was surprised that Milwaukee traded him. He jokingly offered his house to pitcher CC Sabathia -- traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Milwaukee Brewers last month.

Williams played four seasons for the Bucks after being drafted out of Alabama in the second round by the Utah Jazz in 2003. The Bucks finished at the bottom of the Central division in each of those years, but Williams had only good things to say about his time there.

"You can't take away 16 years in Milwaukee ... wait that's Brett Favre sorry," Williams said. "All joking aside you can't take those four years away."

Williams sounded eager to play alongside a guy who's helping the United States re-establish itself as an international powerhouse in basketball.

"A guy that can make plays and can handle the ball -- that takes a lot of pressure off me handling the ball a whole lot," Williams said. "I'm more than comfortable playing off the ball. That's one of my strengths, and I really get to use that strength now."

Asked what the Cavaliers' goals will be for the upcoming season, Williams sounded like he's been part of the culture there for years.

"There's only one goal ... it's to win the championship," Williams said. "You come in from the first day and start right now."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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