In a move that has been speculated for months, the Cavaliers have reached an agreement with former Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, who reached a buyout with the Bulls last week. The deal is for one year and $2.3 million.
According to multiple outlets (including CBS Sports), part of the agreement to sign in Cleveland was based on the Cavs saying that Wade would be a starter upon arrival. This adds a few interesting wrinkles to the Cavaliers' lineup options. The recent theory that this could mean LeBron James starts at point guard along with some combination of J.R. Smith, Wade, Love, Crowder, and Thompson is still an attractive one, even if the 35-year-old Wade doesn't have the same explosiveness as he did in years past.
Despite turning 35 last season, Wade's averages per-36 minutes have been remarkably consistent over the past handful of years, although his minutes have slowly declined; he averaged just under 30 per game last year.
The real challenge this will present for the Cavs is a potential change in their offensive identity. Wade no longer gets to the free throw line like he did in his younger years: He averaged fewer than five free throws per game for the second time in his career, and he has also gotten into the habit of never shooting three-pointers unless he's laughably wide open. The results are still not good. He managed 31% from deep last year, which is the primary focus of Cleveland's offense.
Coupled with Derrick Rose, who also can't shoot, the Cavs are barking up an odd tree. Wade's still-pretty-good athleticism will be enough to change Cleveland's rotation, too: With 18 guys under contract, there is a logjam. Non-guaranteed contracts (Felder and Tavares) are most likely gone, but there's still another body there. Is it Richard Jefferson? Is it newly signed Jose Calderon? Is it a 2-for-1 player swap? These are all on the table, but there's no clear answer what will happen yet, although it has to happen soon.
Wade is a known commodity at this stage in his career. In small bursts, he should be able to contribute as a creator, a switch-able defender (2.5 defensive win shares per game last year! Who saw that coming?!), and as an absolute pest when need be. He'll obviously have chemistry with LeBron and the Cavs, but time will tell whether he'll play mainly with the first unit or not.
Personally, I can't see him sharing the floor with Rose for more than a minute here and there. The two of them together allows the defense to sag into the middle and stifle an offense that would need to get to the rim. Two creators and three shooters could work in very short bursts, but then there's certainly no rim protection. One of them at a time would be fine, but even then, LeBron isn't a great spot-up shooter to put around one of them.
It's an odd experiment, but it's one the Cavaliers may as well try. They're throwing a lot of meat-slices at the wall... something will stick eventually.