Shortly after clearing waivers, 35 year old shooting guard Dwyane Wade has signed a one year deal at the veteran’s minimum with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some will argue Wade signing a one year deal is a clear indicator LeBron will leave in Summer 2018. Nonetheless this is still a very solid addition that folks in The Land should be excited for, even if the Cavs still need to make some sort of adjustment to make room for D-Wade on the regular season roster.
Dwyane Wade is clearly not the flash that led the Miami Heat to their first ever championship in 2006. That being said, Wade is coming off of a season where he averaged about 18 points per game for a Bulls team that snuck into the playoffs. Given D-Wade’s advanced age this was rather impressive and Ty Lue would be wise to utilize him in a sixth man role, off the bench. At this stage a sixth man role would maximize Wade’s value to the team and also effectively budget his minutes in an attempt to keep him healthy.
The number of current and past all-stars on the Cavalier’s roster give them a level of depth that they lacked last season. Albeit, outside of LeBron James many of the Cavs key starters and key reserves are very injury prone. A fully healthy Cavs roster will present many intriguing lineup and matchup opportunities for Ty Lue and the rest of his coaching staff.
The first thing that jumps out, is the wealth of options Cleveland has at both guard spots. The Cavs appear to have enough shooting (JR Smith, Kyle Korver) to play from behind and enough isolation scoring (Isiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose) to take the scoring load off LeBron in crunchtime. Outside of newly added big-man Ante Zizic, the Cav’s frontcourt is the same as last season. Although Zizic slightly improves Cleveland’s issues with rim protection, it is still something I would like to see them address further if possible, as Kevin Durant got the rack at will in last year’s NBA finals.
The addition of Jae Crowder excites me the most about this new look Cavaliers’ roster. Crowder provides elite defense and knockdown three point shooting, on a bargain of a contract. More importantly he can matchup with the NBA’s top wing players, which will take a lot of pressure off LeBron James come playoff time. Going into the regular season, the new look Cavs appear to have feast or famine potential. Ultimately the team’s success will be determined by their ability to stay healthy for 82 games, plus the playoffs. At the end of the day, however, Cavs fans shouldn’t be too worried going into the season. For starters, the best player in the world and arguably the greatest of all-time (see my GOAT article) LeBron James is not showing signs of slowing down. Couple this with a revamped roster and bolstered bench, and the Cavs appear to be on a collision course with the Golden State Warriors, for an epic fourth straight NBA finals matchup.