Dwyane Wade is a free agent and should seize the opportunity to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and play alongside LeBron James again. The question is, can Wade effectively replace Matthew Dellavedova? (I’m kidding!. Kind of…)
Wade is currently balking at another sub-max contract offer from the Heat
and talking to the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks. (Wade canceled meetings scheduled later this week.) Dan Le Batard says the Heat offered Wade the same 2-year $40 million deal that he just signed last year. That’s a lot of money, but it apparently won’t buy happiness and it definitely won’t buy championships.
He’s taken hometown discounts in Miami and now wants to be compensated. A move to Milwaukee would have seemed insane for a guy who has lived in Miami for the last decade, but that’s where he would have to go if he wanted to maximize his money.
He shouldn’t (and won’t!) go to either of those cities though. Dwyane Wade has an opportunity to help basketball fans around the world by going to the Cleveland Cavaliers by whatever means necessary. Wade, who has already won three titles, should choose where to play for basketball reasons and the only team that can offer rings is the Cavs. Which is good, because they don’t have this money.
LeBron James, J.R. Smith, James Jones, Richard Jefferson, Dahntay Jones and Jordan McRae are currently unsigned. Matthew Dellavadova and Timofey Mozgov have already signed elsewhere. Channing Frye, who played 12 minutes in the Cavs Game 3 blowout win over the Warriors and didn’t step on the court during games 5 through 7, will make $7.4 million this season. Sure, they’re going to fill out that roster with a few minimum guys, but right now they only have $20 million to work with before they exceed the salary cap the year after they will pay a league-high $54 million in luxury taxes.
A small price to pay for a championship, but how likely is Dan Gilbert to do that again? That’s why Kevin Love and his $113 million contract probably has to leave town for this to happen. Same for Shump’s remaining $30 million. The question is, would GM LeBron give his friend a max deal for multiple years? There might be too many moving parts for this to be a reality.
The threat of LeBron leaving has to be real and I can’t recall as much as a rumor about another team bothering to try to get in a room or a Hampton’s bungalow with LeBron this summer. If Carmelo Anthony hasn’t even bothered trying to recruit LeBron to New York, how much pressure will Gilbert feel to continue paying such a high price? Especially when the best the rest of the Eastern Conference could do this offseason was move Al Horford to a cold-weather city?
Wade turns 35 this season. He’s past his prime. He shot career-lows in every category but free throw percentage last season. Wade doesn’t do the one thing you’re supposed to do when you play with LeBron James – spread the floor and make 3’s. A career 28% shooter from behind the 3-point line, Wade managed to shoot a career-low .159 from distance this season. Those numbers are not typos.
The good news is that he’s Dwyane Wade. We’ve seen him work in a LeBron system before. He played 74 games this year – his most since the 2010-2011 season. And he actually made 12 of 23 three-point attempts during the postseason. Obviously, he’s not going to be standing in the corner shooting 3’s anywhere next season, but Ty Lue can figure out how to make it work.
Wade would be afforded the opportunity to rest during the regular season as the Cavaliers coast to a top spot in the Eastern Conference. Wade would take Richard Jefferson’s spot in the lineup in the playoffs. Kyrie Irvin, J.R. Smith, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Tristain Thompson can compete with the Warriors Death Lineup – Harrison Barnes + Kevin Durant. They shouldn’t beat them, but they can make it ugly and fun.
This is where LeBron and Wade can come together to solidify two legacies that didn’t need any solidifying. Forget Mount Rushmore, beating a 73-win team that replaced Harrison Barnes with Kevin Durant is super legend Mount Olympus God-level stuff. It needs to happen. Hopefully, Wade realizes this before he spends the twilight of his career getting bounced in the first round at some remote NBA outpost like Milwaukee, New York or Miami. Dwyane Wade needs to finish his career in a real market like Cleveland where he can compete for titles.