Dwyane Wade is one of the NBA’s premier players in the last decade – winning three championships, one in 2006, where he was Finals MVP, 2012, and in 2013. Wade is also one of the league’s best playmakers, one whose athleticism rose to a top-tier level for years. Now, at 35 years old and playing in his 15th NBA season with the window closing on his career. Wade was bought out of his contract with the Chicago Bulls two weeks ago and decided to rejoin forces with LeBron James in Cleveland on one-year, $2.3 million dollar deal.
If you can remember, from 2010-2014, James had left the Cleveland Cavaliers and took his talents to South Beach, teaming up with Wade. During those four years together, the Miami Heat went to four consecutive NBA Finals, winning two titles. After the 2014 season, the two parted ways: James fleeing for Cleveland and Wade staying in Miami before two years later going back home to Chicago, only playing in 59 games due to injury.
So, what does Wade’s signing actually mean to Cleveland?
It means, that with the signing, the Cavaliers take another step forward to dethroning the Golden State Warriors. At the surface, Wade brings unremitting chemistry amongst himself and James that will help spark cohesion in Cleveland’s system. Wade will serve as another impact shooting guard alongside JR Smith this season – an asset that Deron Williams couldn’t consistently administer in 2016-17. Last season, Wade improved his three-point shooting, making 31 percent of his 3’s, which is a huge improvement considering he shot a woeful 16 percent the year before that.
Wade has always proven to be a great defender in this league throughout his career, issuing a 95.6 Defensive Rating last season. His length, and size on the perimeter can help revitalize the Cavaliers’ perimeter defense, which allowed teams to shoot 36.5 percent from three last season (7th worst highest in the NBA).
To continue, Wade has also been an ultimate gamer throughout his career, nailing enormous shots during major moments in games to help his teams win when it matters. That trait will come in handy throughout the playoffs, and the fact that he has a lot of experience behind him, especially in the NBA Finals, serves as a huge plus for Cleveland.
Lastly, the Cavaliers’ depth changes with Wade on the roster. Now, the Cavs appear to have the deepest roster in the NBA, with a variety of shooters in Thomas, Smith, and Kyle Korver, surrounded by veteran two-way stars in Wade himself, James, Crowder and even Kevin Love.
And here’s the thing: Cleveland might not be done making moves in 2017-18. The Cavaliers could end up trading their 2018 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick to eventually land another big-time player, such as Anthony Davis or Demarcus Cousins later this season.