CLEVELAND CAVALIERS guard Dion Waiters, the subject of trade rumors for several weeks, denied an Internet report he has asked the team to deal him.
Waiters, a Philadelphia native, said before last night's game with Portland that he's happy and comfortable in Cleveland and was surprised at the latest rumors.
"Why would I do that?" Waiters said. "It doesn't make sense. This is the team that drafted me. People come up with their own things, man. I know what I said and what I didn't say. That's one of the things I absolutely never said."
The trade talk involving the second-year guard began last month when reports surfaced Waiters was involved in a confrontation with teammates following a 29-point loss in Minnesota.
Waiters denied those rumors after they came out and said he was taking a nap yesterday when he learned of the latest trade talk that said he wanted to be traded to Philadelphia.
"I was asleep," he said. "I don't know what's going on. My phone's blowing up. The way my phone was going crazy, I thought I got traded."
Waiters, the No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft, is Cleveland's second-leading scorer, averaging 14.4 points. He's been coming off the bench since mid-November as coach Mike Brown searched for the right combinations after the Cavaliers got off to a 4-12 start. Cleveland has won five of eight.
"As long as we're winning, nothing else matters," Waiters said.
Waiters bruised a knee in Monday's practice, but entered last night's game in the first quarter. He scored 25 points in Portland's 119-116 victory, which the Blazers' Damian Lillard (36 points) won with a three at the buzzer.
* At Memphis, Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in his sixth game of the season, and the Los Angeles Lakers closed out a four-game road trip with a 96-92 victory over the Grizzlies, which got 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds from Zach Randolph.
* At Charlotte, Kemba Walker scored 24 points and the Bobcats beat the Sacramento Kings, 95-87, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Gerald Henderson added 20 points and reserve Ramon Sessions scored 16 for the Bobcats. DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points and 17 rebounds for Sacramento.
* Former President Bill Clinton and Lakers star Kobe Bryant will lead a panel on kids and sports at a conference next month.
The roundtable discussion will open the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Conference on Jan. 13 in La Quinta, Calif. Topics will include barriers to access, coaching quality and safety.
"There's so much to be gained, so much from health and fitness," Bryant told the Associated Press. "It's a really important initiative for kids to understand that you're not just getting the benefits of being healthy, you're also understanding how to be great leaders, how to be unselfish, how to work within a group, competitive spirit."
Bryant called his message "wisdom through sports."