The 2018 NBA Finals is set. For the fourth season in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers will face off against the Golden State Warriors to see which team is the best in the NBA.
That has left many on social media asking the question: Could Dwyane Wade receive a championship ring if the Cavaliers win the best-of-7 series? After all, he did play valuable minutes in 46 games for Cleveland this season before being traded back to the Miami Heat.
The argument can be made either way, especially since there isn't an NBA rule in place as to who teams can offer championship rings.
The best answer is that it would be up to the Cavaliers to extend the offer to Wade — and any other player who was on the team for various portions of the season (such as Isaiah Thomas). Wade would also have to accept the offer.
For a recent example of this debate, let's look back at former NBA center Anderson Varejao, who experienced two sides of the situation.
In 2016, Varejao played 31 games in Cleveland to open the season, was traded to Portland at the deadline and ultimately ended up on the Golden State roster. The Cavs and Warriors met in the finals, with Cleveland overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the series to win its first and only NBA Championship.
According to a CBS Sports story following the championship series, the Cavaliers were "allowed to vote for him to receive a ring if they want to be so magnanimous." Varejao said he had no plans to accept the ring if offered.
One year later, Varejao played just 14 games for the Warriors during their championship run before being waived by the team in February. Although he wasn't on the roster when they won the title last season, Golden State voted to award Varejao a ring. He accepted.
"They told me that there was a vote between the players and the coaching staff, and they decided that it would be well-deserved that I receive a ring for the time I spent with them," Varejao said, according to the Brazillian site sportv.globo.com. "This recognition, their affection, makes me proud and honored. I will accept this ring, which represents much more than a title to me, represents our history together, every moment I spent with them."
During Wade's time in Cleveland this season, he averaged 11.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks during 23.2 minutes per game. The Cavs went 26-20 in the 46 games Wade played for them before the trade deadline. Wade then went on to help the Heat make it back to the NBA Playoffs before suffering a first-round exit at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Regardless, Wade is happy for former teammate LeBron James, who is set to play in his eighth straight NBA Finals. Four of those, of course, came in 2011-2014 during the "Big 3" era in Miami.
"That's a bad man," Wade tweeted Sunday. "Congrts bro on your 8th straight FINALS! DAMN!"
If Wade does receive a ring, he would be the second player on a Miami sports team to receive one this calendar year. The Marlins' Cameron Maybin received his World Series ring last week after playing with the Houston Astros for the final month of the regular season and appearing in six postseason games.