Injuries had limited Sam Dekker to only nine games this season with the Cavaliers, who he joined just this past summer in a trade. He hadn't played in a month. Yet, with only nine players available after Otto Porter Jr.'s injury on Monday against the Pacers, head coach Scott Brooks was left without much of a choice.
So, Dekker was summoned off the bench to make his debut with Washington, the third team he has called home all within this calendar year. Though the game amounted in a loss, Dekker's start with the Wizards could not have gone much better.
They instantly went on a 19-0 run to climb back into the game and Dekker played his part in it. He scored on a dunk, had two steals, a rebound and an assist.
For Dekker, after missing weeks due to a left ankle injury, it was just good to get back out there.
"There was definitely some rust to knock off," Dekker said. "Our trainer was laughing at me. He said 'I've never seen someone drink their water so fast in a timeout.' My bottle was gone."
The dust will ultimately settle, but it has been a tumultuous few days for Dekker. He was still getting adjusted to the Cavs organization when on Friday night his name popped up in trade rumors. His phone started buzzing with "hundreds" of messages from friends and family.
At first, it looked like Dekker was going to Milwaukee, back to his home state and not far from where he starred at the University of Wisconsin.
"I didn't answer to any of them because I did not feel like I was going to Milwaukee," Dekker said. "Something was telling me that was not the case. It just didn't make sense in my head. So, I was like 'no way.' "
Sure enough, Dekker's gut feeling was proven correct. Soon after he was tied to Milwaukee, full details of the trade were released. It was a three-team deal and he was off to Washington, the fourth team in his young career.
The 24-year-old has been traded three times now. That's a lot of moving for he and his wife, Olivia.
"This is the third time I've made her move, so that's no fun. I feel terrible about that," he said. "But she's been awesome. She's been keeping me grounded through all of this."
Dekker said the first order of business after he was dealt to Washington was finding a sitter for his dog, Riggins. He had a 6 a.m. flight the next morning.
Now, he is in the process of breaking a lease in Cleveland and looking for a new place in the Washington area.
"There's a lot more to it than people understand. They think we just put a new jersey on," Dekker said of getting traded.
Dekker's time with the Wizards has been a whirlwind so far. Things will calm down and, as he says, it all comes back to basketball.
"The one constant is playing hoops. Last night, to get on the court finally, that is one thing that feels like home," he said.
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