Just about every big name player in the NBA has found a new home this offseason.
Chris Paul is in Houston to help count James Harden’s money instead of signing his own deal in Los Angeles. Jimmy Butler is in Minnesota, just because. Kyrie Irving passed Isaiah Thomas in the Cleveland airport to meet up with Gordon Hayward for beer in Boston. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony moved into Kevin Durant‘s old dorm room to combine their points and put them in the piggy bank he left behind, while Blake Griffin surprisingly stayed put after realizing that the Clippers were foolish enough to invest in him to stay in Hollywood. More Kia commercials it is!
Now, the last veteran NBA domino to drop is Dwayne Wade, who recently agreed to a buyout from the Chicago Bulls after one-year of wasted time strolling down Michigan Avenue.
Most people assume that Wade will end up with his buddy LeBron James in Cleveland to have another go round at a championship run. Though chemistry is key to any team, is Wade really a fit for the Cavs? Let’s look at the landscape here. Isaiah Thomas isn’t due to step on the court until January. Derrick Rose could slip on a fully stable yoga mat at any time to end his season. So in-lieu of any starting point guard whatsoever, Dwayne Wade is the answer?
Wade was the man in his prime. He absolutely crushed defenders and put the Miami Heat team on his back for years, even with both LeBron James and Chris Bosh on the roster. Although Wade can still slide past you and throw one down, let’s not forget that this league is a young man’s game, and Wade has some miles on him as we saw last year in Chicago. There’s a reason that Pat Riley balked at the initial price tag for re-signing Wade. That’s not to say that Pat wouldn’t have Wade back at a discounted price, bring him home and make things right again.
Let’s rewind here for a moment. If Wade went to Cleveland, we’re looking at a combined starting lineup of LeBron, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, and either D-Rose or Flash at point guard (until Isaiah Thomas is back from his hip injury). Not to be the fantasy GM in the room, but that’s clearly a loss of production year-over-year. While the Eastern Conference may be weaker, the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics are nothing to scoff at, so the Cavs would have to do better than Dwayne Wade.
As for Wade himself, he might be better playing in a structured offense at this point in his career rather than on a ‘hero ball’ team. This brings one place and one place only to mind, and that’s the San Antonio Spurs. Wade could wake up tomorrow and fit right in with the likes of Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Tony Parker, Patty Mills, and of course, Kawhi Leonard. Unlike LeBron, Wade knows how to play in a system, work it to his advantage and buy-in to the concept of team. San Antonio is the only well-oiled machine outside of Golden State where this is even possible.
While the whole world is screaming Cleveland and friendship, if Wade takes a minute to look at his cards, then he’ll know that San Antonio is the best ticket in town. The Spurs have a better chance at knocking off the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals than the Cavs have of getting back to the championship dance. Sorry Cleveland, you’re not a thing anymore.