DURHAM — Jawad Williams isn't LeBron James' teammate anymore, but he still likes his shoes.
The former North Carolina standout and current Cleveland Cavalier sported James' Nike Zoom Soldier III shoes at the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am on Thursday.
"They're good shoes, and that's my guy," Williams said. "All that stuff about him leaving, that's business and I understand. He's still my guy."
Playing for Team Navy in its 87-79 victory against Team 212, Williams scored 17 points in his third game in the Pro-Am this summer. He then pulled double-duty when he suited up for Team McGladrey in the next game, scoring 17 again.
Williams is a restricted free agent with the Cavaliers but has yet to sign his contract because of options negotiations. Former UNC stars Antawn Jamison and Danny Green join him on the Cavaliers' roster, and Williams said their similar backgrounds help their chemistry.
But recently, rumors surfaced that James has been courting the 6-foot-9 forward to join him on the Miami Heat. Williams has the choice of more money in Cleveland or a spot on one of the best rosters in NBA history with a likely pay cut.
"I'm going to wait on my options," Williams said. "My heart is in Cleveland. I'm born and raised in Cleveland. I got a lot of people who look up to me there, and I feel like I owe that community a lot being from there, so I'm going to do what's best for my family and myself."
Still waiting: Charles Ward elevates like a slam-dunk champion, dives for loose balls like a player in a contract year and signs autographs like a hometown hero and NBA veteran.
But in reality, Ward is just a veteran of NBA training camps and summer leagues such as the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am.
The 6-foot-7 former St. Augustine's player can play nearly every position on the floor. Thus far, though, Ward has yet to even ride the bench during an NBA game. One obstacle he couldn't overcome: the greatest basketball player ever.
When Michael Jordan came out of retirement in 2002 to play for the Washington Wizards, Ward was the last player cut.
"That's a way to start a pro career," said Ward, who was wearing a Jordan sweatband on his head. "I got cut cause of Mike, but I ain't too mad at him. Matter of fact, I had his shoes on when I got cut."
Ward was ready to sign the with the Memphis Grizzlies before a front-office shakeup kept him looking for a job. He then began his world tour, starting with the Harlem Globetrotters for a year. Ward has played in Denmark, Iceland, the Philippines, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Ward racked up a game-high 23 points in Team Navy's win and plans to go overseas again. For now, he's assisting in camps and waiting for a chance.
"I'm hoping to get into a training camp in the NBA and maybe play one more time," Ward said. "Everybody thought they were going to get LeBron and they didn't, so there are some spots open for guys like me who can play multiple positions."
No-shows: The prime-time game lacked star power on Thursday when no player from UNC and only one player from Duke appeared as scheduled.
The 8 p.m. game against Team Stackhouse and Team Jamison was played with mostly high schoolers rather than NCAA Division I talent, with the exception of Blue Devils guard Nolan Smith.
UNC's Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, John Henson and Justin Watts are on the Team Stackhouse roster, and Team Jamison lists Duke's Seth Curry, Josh Hairston and Miles Plumlee.