Dion Waiters was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he expects to have a fresh start.  He’ll also have a new jersey number, 23.  Some thought it was a possible message to LeBron James but it turns out Waiters just couldn’t get the other numbers he wanted, including one that was previously held by James Harden.

Shay Marie

Waiters in a Q&A with the media, as transcribed by Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

Why you wearing 23?

They didn’t have any numbers. I wanted 3, I wanted 1. They didn’t have that. So I said, OK, I’m gonna take 13 because I wanted 1, they didn’t have 1. Then 13, they didn’t want me to wear 13. 23, I didn’t want to wear 23. My favorite number is 3. They just gave me 23.

You remember who wore 13?

Yeah, James (Harden). So they didn’t want me to wear 13. Guess they wanted me to have my own identity. We gonna make 23 look good though.

No. 3 is held by Perry Jones and No. 1 is retired for former Seattle SuperSonic Gus Williams.

The Thunder obviously didn’t want Waiters wearing 13 and drawing comparisons to James Harden but not letting him wear it caused a story within itself.  Obviously 23 is one of the most iconic numbers in basketball, held by both Michael Jordan and LeBron James but Waiters won’t have to worry about comparisons there.