After agreeing to a buyout with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, Dwyane Wade has now decided to reunite with Lebron James in Cleveland, and will reportedly join the Cavaliers on a 1-year, $2.3 million contract. The 12-time All Star guard spent only one disappointing season in Chicago, with the team heading toward a rebuild that the 35-year old Wade clearly wanted no part of.
There was much speculation about where Wade would end up signing once the buyout was agreed upon, with Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, and even Oklahoma City discussed as front runners. Many thought that if Wade did not sign with the Cavs, that he would likely end up back in Miami, where he spent the first 13 years of his Hall of Fame career, and became the face of not only the franchise, but the entire city of Miami, or “Wade County”, as it became known as during his time there. Ex-teammates were also publicly attempting to recruit him back to Miami, particularly long time teammate Udonis Haslem, as well as center Hassan Whiteside. Upon hearing the news of Wade’s free agent decision, Haslem light-heartedly said to reporters that he “definitely had six fouls…and a flagrant for Dwyane”.
Photo Source: commons.wikimedia.org
In the end, Wade seemed to choose the destination that could both give him a chance to win, and also provide consistent minutes for him, likely even in a starting role. He likely would not have started in San Antonio or Oklahoma City, and while some may have said he is a better option to start in Miami over Dion Waiters, that Heat team is coming off of a 30-11 second half of the season which saw them play some of the best basketball in the league, even though they narrowly missed a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. Adding someone like Wade back into that roster, with the gravitas he holds both on that team and in that city, stood the chance of destroying the continuity they built last year, and stunt the development of young players such as Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, and even Waiters himself.
In Cleveland, Wade will likely start and play significant minutes for a Championship-caliber squad that, for at least one more season, still has the world’s best basketball player on it, and will likely be playing in June for another NBA title.