The Golden State Warriors made a huge splash in free agency. The Cleveland Cavaliers were also close to forming a Big Four of their own.
Dwyane Wade recently revealed that he contemplated joining his banana boat buddie LeBron James in Cleveland. The opportunity was his for the taking, but the pull from his hometown was too much to ignore.
“I thought about Cleveland, but I didn’t fit there,” Wade told SLAM. “You don’t just do something because, Oh, I could win the ring there. I have three rings. I don’t need to chase the ring. This is what I wanted to do.”
By signing with the Chicago Bulls, Wade will earn $47 million in the next two seasons. That’s $6 million more than if he stayed with the Miami Heat. He would have to settle for a less lucrative contract if he joined the cap-stricken Cavaliers.
Wade clarified that his decision to join the Bulls wasn’t because of the money. He said he didn’t want to regret not playing for his hometown team. Being a part of the Bulls organization made him feel like a rookie again.
“I just wanna come out and hear the roar of the crowd. Then I wanna produce and give them something to cheer for,” he said. “It’s like a new excitement. I’ve been in the city before, but it’s different now. I’m a Bull.”
Early in the offseason, there were serious talks about Wade potentially bolting Miami for Cleveland. Speculation intensified when JR Smith demanded a $15 million per year salary to re-sign with the Cavaliers, as per Cleveland.com.
Wade was considered to be the top target for the Cavaliers had Smith signed elsewhere in free agency. He would have provided consistent mid-range scoring for the reigning, defending NBA champions.
The impasse between the Cavaliers and Smith took longer than expected. The delay further emboldened Wade to sign with the Bulls instead.