Last season, the mystery concerning whether or not LeBron James would re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers was a continuing storyline. Even though James didn’t make his decision official until July 1, his close friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade knew that he would be leaving Cleveland.
Joe Vardon of The Athletic looked at Wade’s 46-game tenure with the Cavaliers, which came to an end last February when the veteran was dealt back to the Miami Heat. When he signed with the Cavaliers last year, he knew that his reunion with James would be a brief one:
“LeBron, first of all, he’s a guy who always plays his cards close to the vest, but I knew his ultimate goal was to be in Los Angeles. He recruited me and he talked to me about signing there (Cleveland), and I said, ‘listen, I know you might not be there long, you’re gonna be a free agent and there are some things that might happen, and we’ll have a conversation.’ I just thought I’d make it through the season first.”
James ended up signing a four-year, $153 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the Cavaliers for the second time in his legendary career. The first of those departures took place in 2010 and brought him to Miami, where he played a key role in winning a pair of NBA titles and making four consecutive trips to the finals. He then returned to the Cavaliers in 2016.
While Wade wasn’t looking to be traded away, he was happy that the Cavaliers were able to work out a deal with the Heat. That’s allowing him to close out a Hall of Fame career with the team that he played with for his first 13 years. During that time in South Florida, he’s been a part of all three Heat league championships, including the latter two with James by his side.
During the past offseason, Wade took his time before deciding to come back for his 16th and final season. Dubbed “One Last Dance,” Wade’s farewell tour has seen him being honored on the road and has also offered the sight of Wade exchanging jerseys with opposing players who are aware of the impact he’s had on the game.
Of course, Wade will be the recipient of even more accolades when the Heat host a night in his honor toward the end of the regular season. A date for that memorable event has yet to be announced.