Dwyane Wade is reportedly nearing a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, reuniting him with his close friend and former teammate LeBron James. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that Wade to Cleveland is imminent, with an agreement likely coming on Wednesday.
It’s no surprise that the Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs among others immediately reached out to Wade once he was bought out by the Chicago Bulls. After all, these are contenders trying to strengthen their roster in an effort to dethrone the star-studded, defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Interestingly, the Warriors placed a call of their own to Wade’s camp to express interest in his services, a source told HoopsHype. The talks were brief because it was unclear what role Wade would play with Golden State.
Throughout his decision-making process, Wade made it clear to interested teams that he wants to play significant minutes on a contender. The Warriors weren’t clear about his playing time, so both parties moved on. Golden State, which has 15 guaranteed players under contract, had to know landing Wade was unlikely, but they did their due diligence. If Wade surprised them and signed, they would’ve added a future Hall of Famer to an already loaded roster and – perhaps more importantly – kept him away from their rival Cavs.
Golden State likely would’ve presented Wade with his best chance to add a fourth championship ring to his collection, but all indications are that he’s not interested in playing limited minutes and padding his résumé with a title he feel he didn’t earned. The 35-year-old wants to remain a key contributor after averaging 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 29.9 minutes per game last year with the Bulls.
This is why Cleveland is such an appealing destination for Wade. Yes, he gets to team up with James again. But, more importantly, the Cavs are a contender that’s willing to give him plenty of minutes. In fact, Wade may even start for them (with JR Smith moving back to a sixth-man role, something he stated he was okay with during Cleveland’s Media Day).
At the end of the day, Cleveland has a clearly defined role for Wade, a shot at a title and the chance to have fun playing alongside his close friend (who likely wouldn’t have been too happy had Wade joined the enemy).
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