Reunited

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Raffy Ledesma

After reaching a buyout agreement with the Chicago Bulls, future Hall-of-Famer and 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade has cleared waivers and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wade, also known as “The Flash”, left $8 million on the table from the $23.8 million he was slated to earn with the Bulls next season to join the Cavs. He will get the veteran’s minimum offer of $2.3 million.

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Seven years ago, Wade was ecstatic when James announced that he would be taking his talents to Miami. The dynamic duo produced 4 straight Finals appearances including 2 championships before James left three years ago. Today, the situation is reversed and James is elated “to have his brother” join an already loaded Cavaliers team. Reportedly, his former team Miami Heat and other contenders namely Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in getting D-Wade’s services.

At 35 years old, Wade is no longer the player he was just a few years ago but still, in 60 games with the Bulls last season, he was still productive, averaging 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in under 30 minutes per game.

Wade joins a formidable roster that includes James, Kevin Love, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye and newcomers, All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas versatile forward Jae Crowder, and former MVP Derrick Rose.

While Wade has never been a spot-on three-point shooter and sometimes plays sloppy defense, his length, basketball IQ, and his offensive firepower are still there. This complements his teammates since his driving abilities will allow shooters to spread the floor. Wade is also notorious for explosive performances on the big stage.

With Thomas reportedly out until January due to a hip injury, there will be plenty of minutes for Wade. I don’t expect him to be a starter since JR Smith is a better perimeter defender and shooter but Wade will definitely be the go-to-guy in the second unit and he can even play a little forward. The Cavs will manage his minutes since they will need him fresh and healthy come the playoffs.

The Wade acquisition is just the latest in a series of trades wherein in teams are loading up with stars in an arms race with the Golden State Warriors. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma, Chris Paul has teamed up with James Harden, while former Cavs Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are now in Boston green.

Wade gives the Cavs more depth and versatility and this is also a shrewd move by management since he can make James happy as the latter grinds out another 82-game season and what is possibly an 8th straight championship appearance.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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