Dwyane Wade appears to be closing in on a reunion with LeBron James.
According to multiple reports including those from Cleveland.com Cavaliers reporter Joe Vardon and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wade, 35, is “leaning heavily toward the Cavs” and “may have already picked a LeBron reunion.”
The 12-time All-Star, who spent his first 13 years in the league with the Miami Heat and won three NBA titles including two with James, will not officially become a free agent until he clears waivers on Wednesday at 5 pm after reaching a buyout agreement with the Chicago Bulls. But that’s a mere formality.
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The Heat, who are loaded at guard and are already heavily invested at the position financially with Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson, were reportedly among Wade’s four preferred destinations along with Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
But Wade also said he wanted to play for a contender and his role on his new team was going to be the most important factor in deciding his future. With point guard Isaiah Thomas expected to be out until at least January, Wade, who averaged 18 points a game last season in Chicago, could see plenty of playing time with the Cavaliers alongside his close friend James.
The Cavaliers, three time defending Eastern Conference champions, are still considered among the favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
“I would love to have D-Wade a part of this team,” James said Monday afternoon at Cavs media day. “I think he brings another championship pedigree, championship DNA. He brings another playmaker to the team who can get guys involved, can make plays and also has a great basketball mind.”
Heat players have lobbied for Wade to sign with Miami including captain Udonis Haslem, who is a close friend of Wade’s as well.
Monday at media day, though, Haslem said he would support Wade’s decision regardless if he chose the Heat or not.
“I would hope [he picks Miami] and I will continue to encourage that,” Haslem said. “But at the end of the day, he was here 13 years and we sacrificed blood, sweat and tears and did everything we were asked and were the ultimate teammates. If he chooses to finish his career somewhere else and that makes him happy, as his brother and his friend I support that.”