If nothing surprising happens in the next 24 hours, Dwyane Wade will sign as a free agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers and re-join forces with LeBron James.
Wade agreed to a buyout with the Chicago Bulls after just one season with his hometown team. He had one year left on his deal in which he was owed $23.2 million. He gave up back an estimated $8 million to be bought out, releasing him to play with a team that has contention on its mind, unlike the Bulls who are probably heading into a rebuilding phase, albeit one that’s too late considering their mediocrity in recent years.
Wade has other teams trying to sign him: The Miami Heat are hoping to bring him back, the stacked Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to sign him through Carmelo Anthony’s courtship, and there are other teams and players hoping he joins them. However,most media outlets are reporting that Wade is strongly leaning towards Cleveland, which isn’t surprising considering LeBron James is arguably the strongest recruiter in the league.
The Cavaliers might also need Wade the most. Isaiah Thomas, who was traded to the Cavaliers from the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving (there were other players involved too), is most likely out until 2018. This does resemble the Cavs’ situation with an injured Irving during the 2015-2016 season which ended with a championship, but they need backcourt help anyhow. Wade isn’t a point guard, but he’ll certainly give them a terrific option, and a somewhat exciting, in an old-school kind of way, backcourt next to Derrick Rose, another Chicago native who left the Bulls for one disappointing season with the New York Knicks.
Wade, who averaged 18.3 points per game last season on the Bulls while playing 29.9 minutes per game, is entering his 15th NBA season, playing 13 of them with the Miami Heat. He is a three-time NBA champion with the Heat, including one Finals MVP (2006). He has been to 12 All-Star games and been selected to 8 different All-NBA teams. He’ll turn 36 in January. The 5th overall selection in the heralded 2003 NBA draft, Wade is likely to be in the Hall of Fame once he retires, whether it’s with another ring or not.