It's been almost two weeks since Dwyane Wade signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And on Monday, head coach Tyronn Lue announced that the 12-time All-Star will be a member of the Cavs' starting lineup when the team tips off the 2017-18 season against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 17.
Starting at shooting guard, Wade will join point guard Derrick Rose, forwards LeBron James and Jae Crowder and center Kevin Love in Cleveland's opening night starting lineup. With Wade starting, J.R.Smith will move to the Cavs' bench -- a role the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year has become familiar with over the course of his NBA career.
"That's coach's decision," Smith said upon Wade's signing. "If anything it makes us stronger, whether if I come off the bench or if [Wade] comes off the bench, however it works. I don't really focus on that, honestly."
The insertion of Wade marks yet another significant shakeup in the Cavs' starting lineup, which returns just two members in James and Love from a season ago. Previously this offseason, Lue moved former starting center Tristan Thompson to the team's bench in an effort to provide more offensive spacing with Love at center.
Conversely, a starting backcourt consisting of Rose and Wade -- who combined to make just 58 three-pointers last season -- would seem to put Cleveland at a disadvantage from long-distance. The Cavs, however, possess a plethora of depth and versatility, with the impending return of All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas only increasing the team's potential lineup options.
In 60 games with the Chicago Bulls last season, Wade averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Fans will get their first glimpse of the Cavs' new-look starting lineup on Tuesday, when the team takes on Wade's former team, the Bulls, in a preseason game.
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