MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Dwyane Wade free agency ride may be coming to a quick ending.
While many in South Florida were hoping for a Wade-Miami Heat reunion, it appears that a different joining of forces may be about to happen.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wade is closing in on a commitment to join his friend LeBron James in Cleveland.
A final decision could be made by Wade as soon as Wednesday, per Wojnarowski.
He agreed to a contract buyout with the Chicago Bulls on Monday, reportedly giving back $8 million of his $23.8 million 2017-18 salary in in order to complete the deal.
Wade, a 12-time NBA All-Star that spent the first 13 years of his career with the Heat, is now 35 years old and knows that his career is winding down.
He had his pick of teams to sign with, and the final list reportedly included the Heat, Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
It makes sense for Wade to choose Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are a top team in the Eastern Conference that has been to the NBA Finals three consecutive years.
Wade has said that he wants to join a contending team and nobody in the East, except perhaps Boston, is predicted to compete with the Cavs in that regard.
Cleveland can also offer Wade a starting role, something that the Heat would have a hard time doing.
The Cavaliers are not expected to have newly-acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas back from injury until at least January.
Miami is loaded at guard, with major financial commitments already made to Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington.
Where Wade would fit in that mix is an interesting question, but one that may not need answering.
Several Heat players were asked about the possibility of Wade returning to Miami during the team’s media day on Monday and the response was unanimous.
“Hopefully, he’s gonna come back home. This is his home,” said Dragic. “Of course, we are going to respect his decision. Every team wants to have a hall of famer and All-Star on their team. It’s always nice to have this sort of player present in the locker room and on the floor.”
“That’s my brother,” added Heat captain Udonis Haslem. “Our relationship goes beyond the game of basketball, so to be able to have another season with him would be a dream come true. I support Dwyane in whatever decision he makes. Hopefully he makes the decision to come back here. I’m definitely going to encourage that but at the end of the day, I support his decision and that what he does for him will be best for him.”
Last season in Chicago, Wade averaged 18.3 points on 43.4% shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 29.9 minutes per game.
Cleveland can offer Wade the veteran’s minimum, a one-year deal worth $2.3 million.