CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade has reunited with his former Miami Heat teammate LeBron James and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bought out of his contract with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, Wade was quickly linked to James and the Cavaliers, and by Tuesday, reports surfaced that a deal was imminent. On Wednesday, the Cavaliers finalized Wade’s contract.
“In the hopes of pursuing a fourth championship, I've reached a deal with the Chicago Bulls and I am excited to share that I will be joining the Cleveland Cavaliers this season,” Wade said in a statement announcing his signing.
“There's no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level. Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender, both as a player and leader. I look forward to reuniting and playing alongside my brother LeBron. We’ve already won two championships together and I hope we win a third.”
A first-round pick out of Marquette University in the 2003 NBA Draft, which James headed as the No. 1 overall pick, Wade has averaged 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.6 steals over 915 career games with the Heat and Bulls.
During his one and only season for the Bulls, Wade averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals. Due to injuries, Wade was limited to 60 games in 2016-2017, but has played in at least 60 contests for three straight years, something he had not been healthy enough to do six the end of the 2011 season.
“We’re extremely happy that Dwyane chose to join us in Cleveland and become a core part of helping us achieve success at the highest level,” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in the release.
“Dwyane has proven, time and time again, that he is a leader and competitor of the highest caliber and that his focus is centered on the ultimate goal. The deep commitment and consistency that he has shown to the game as a 12-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Champion is remarkable, and he’s going to be a difference maker on the court and in the locker room with our team.”
In 172 career playoff games, 166 with the Heat and six with the Bulls, Wade has averaged 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from three-point range and 77.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Adding Wade gives the Cavaliers another player with what James has often referred to as “Championship DNA,” as they won two titles together with the Heat. Also, Wade teamed with National Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal on Miami’s NBA Championship team of 2005-2006.
While teaming with Wade in Miami, James averaged 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Additionally, James shot 54.3 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from three-point range and 75.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Although James’ average points, assists and blocks were lower with the Heat than the Cavaliers, alongside Wade, he raised his shooting percentages from the field, three-point range and free-throw line while playing less minutes per game during the regular season.
“We’re blessed as a franchise to be able to have a player the caliber of D-Wade join us,” James said following Wednesday’s practice. “It’s exciting.
“I’m happy that we were able to keep him away from everybody else. That’s my guy. That’s one of my best friends. It’s kind of like when you start school and you walk into the classroom and you’re not quite sure who your classmates are. Then, you walk in and one of your best friends is in there, and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this is going to be fun. This is going to be a good class.’ That is the type of feeling I’ve got.”