While Dwyane Wade will be facing a familiar foe in his former team, the Chicago Bulls, on Tuesday, he'll be doing so in an unfamiliar role. Head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters on Monday that the 12-time All-Star will be moving to the Cleveland Cavaliers' bench after starting the first three games of the 2017-18 season.
According to Lue, it was Wade who approached him about making the move, which will reinsert J.R. Smith as the Cavs' shooting guard.
"We talked about it before he got here that it'd be a better fit for him coming off the bench," Lue said of Wade, who signed with the Cavs last month after reaching a buyout agreement with the Bulls. "He's been a starter for his whole career, so we wanted to try to start him. He came to me and said, 'You know what, coach? What you said was right. I might be able to be featured more and handle the ball more in the second-unit. Let's make that move and make that adjustment.' He came to me with it after the game the other night."
Although the Cavs have gotten off to a 2-1 start to the season -- including victories over Eastern Conference foes in the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks -- Wade undeniably struggled throughout his first week in Cleveland. Playing 23.7 minutes per game, Wade has averaged a career-low 5.7 points per game while shooting just 28 percent from the field.
While Wade wasn't expected to assume a starring role with the Cavs, his fit in the team's starting lineup raised questions due to the lack of spacing he provides while playing alongside starting point guard Derrick Rose. Although he's started in 907 of his 918 career games, Wade decided that if a change was going to be inevitable, it would be better to make one sooner rather than later.
"I just decided earlier than later to get to the unit I'd be more comfortable in. I could probably be better with this team in that lineup," Wade said. "Why wait?"
Wade will make his bench debut for the Cavs on Tuesday when Cleveland hosts the Bulls for a 7 p.m. tip.