The Cleveland Cavaliers are about to get a lot more dangerous.
Once he clears waivers on Wednesday, 12-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade plans to sign with the Cavs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
On Sunday, Wade agreed to a contract buyout with the Chicago Bulls. Via Woj’s report, he will sign a $2.3 million veterans minimum deal to reunite with LeBron James, a close friend of his who he formerly won two NBA titles with on the Miami Heat. He reportedly gave back $8 million of his $23.8 million 2017-2018 salary to reach that buyout agreement with the Bulls.
Since the team will be without newly-aquired Isaiah Thomas for multiple months as he recovers from a hip injury, Wade’s signing will provide an already-talented backcourt with another viable contributor, joining former MVP Derrick Rose, JR Smith and Kyle Korver, among others.
At the Cavaliers’ media day on Monday, LeBron James was asked about the prospect of Wade joining his team.
"I would love to have D-Wade a part of this team," James told reporters. "I think he brings another championship DNA, championship pedigree. He brings another playmaker to the team who can get guys involved, and make plays, and also just has a great basketball mind."
LeBron went on, ”I've talked to D-Wade throughout the whole summer, and I probably will reach out to him as well, but it's really not up to me. It's up to D-Wade if he can clear waivers and then it's up to our front office. But I hope that we can bring him here. I would love to have him."
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue admitted it will be challenging to figure out who stays and who goes in the final roster cuts before the season starts, but Wade’s addition will be beneficial in the end.
"Anytime you get new pieces and new players, it's always challenging, but I'm up for the challenge, and so are the players," Lue said. "We will figure it out. It will be a good year for us.”
Incumbent starting center Tristan Thompson said that Wade will fit in on the Cavaliers immediately.
"He's pretty familiar with most of the guys on our team, whether playing against or playing with," Thompson noted. "I think he's going to jell pretty well. He's a veteran. He's always been a good locker room guy. We've never heard anything bad.”
The center continued, ”It would be great for our team to have another championship-mentality player on our team. It's just more pieces to the puzzle.”
Wade averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season in Chicago. On the fast track to the Hall of Fame, he will look to win his fourth championship in Cleveland.
Most of all, Wade's signing will deal a sturdy blow to the Boston Celtics, who re-tooled and re-stocked their entire roster this offseason and seemingly had the upper-hand (on paper) over Cleveland on paper to start the year. A starting five of Rose, Wade, James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson will likely take the floor in the season opener against Boston on October 17. When Thomas returns, he will make the roster even more dangerous.