After three years apart since their four years together in Miami, half of the banana boat crew, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, are back together. This time it’s in Cleveland, where the expectations are a bit higher.
After long speculation of Wade reaching a buyout agreement from his hometown Chicago Bulls, it finally happened a few days before the 2017 preseason started.
The 12x NBA All-Star signed a 1-yr/$2.3 million dollar deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with hopes to once again compete for a championship. By the way, yes that’s significantly less than the $23 million he was supposed to make this year with the Bulls. However as we know, for some players it’s not all about the money.
“I’m all about happiness. When you have a kid like me that grew up the way I grew up. A kid that sat across from his mother in the penitentiary, talking to her through a glass that you could barely hear her in, a kid that watched his mother on drugs, been a through a divorce, been a through a custody case, all these things I’ve been through all I care about in life is happiness,” said Wade. “I looked at this roster, being part of a veteran team now, a team that has one goal to go to the championship, that’s what I want to play for.”
Wade mentioned how Chicago trading Jimmy Butler and not re-signing Rajon Rondo played a big role in his departure. In particular he wasn’t willing to be part of a rebuilding phase at this point in his career.
With Wade, Rondo and Butler on the Bulls they weren’t even able to make it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs. Needless to say, without the latter two most people don’t even have the Bulls making the playoffs this upcoming year.
As we all know, the East got weaker this offseason with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George being traded to the Thunder, as well as others heading West. However, arguably the strongest team in the East, the Cavs, got even stronger.
After basically just losing G Kyrie Irving, they’ve added G Isaiah Thomas, F Jae Crowder, G Dwyane Wade, F Jeff Green and G Derrick Rose just to name a few notable players. With adding that much depth to the roster, both offensively and defensively, expectations are inevitably going to be higher once its April and it’s time for the postseason. Especially because the team is fresh off of a 4-1 Finals loss against the team they will most likely see again in the Finals this year.
Since Dwyane Wade joined the team, a lot of people have asked the same question, “is that enough for the Cavs to win four out of seven games in the NBA Finals against the Warriors?”
The straightforward answer is no. Just because a team looks good on paper doesn’t mean that it will translate onto the court. However, the Cavs can beat the Warriors in the Finals (and anyone else for that matter) if they do one thing that they historically have not done, use their bench.
Last year the Cleveland Cavaliers were 28th in the league in both bench minutes per game and bench points per game.
Provided that they use their bench efficiently, this team can take on anybody. If not, the depth goes to waste.
Good thing for the Cavs, they have half of the banana boat crew to lead the team. Their resume speaks for itself: four straight trips to the NBA Finals, two championships and an overall winning culture. Hell, with just LeBron leading that already rubbed of on the other players in Cleveland, so with both of them there that can play a huge role in the success of the team this upcoming season.
Funnily enough, according to Wade he didn’t make the decision on his own to come to Cleveland, he had some help from The King.
“We always talk about regular things. Then he [called] me again later like ‘I don’t know what you going to do. I don’t know where your mind is right now but if something happens in Chicago and you guys decide to part ways I want you to really consider coming to Cleveland,’” said Wade. “Then it started getting real around the time we worked out in LA. We had time to sit down and just talk. For me [it was] sitting down and talking to him and realizing what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be a part of.”
Another plus of Wade and LeBron teaming up again is how much damage they do when playing together (despite both winning a championship without the other).
During their four years together in Miami Wade averaged 21 PPG, 5 RPG and 4 APG while shooting 51% from the field. LeBron averaged 26 PPG, 8 RPG and 7 APG while shooting 54% from the field.
Last year in Chicago, at the age of 35, Dwyane Wade averaged 18 PPG while shooting 43% from the field.
How long this reunion will last, there’s no telling since both LeBron and Wade can take their talents elsewhere this offseason as free agents. For now though, both the players and the fans in The Land have a lot to be excited about this year.