A reunion between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade could have happened this summer, but the NBA’s financial constraints (salary cap and luxury tax) made it too difficult for the Cleveland Cavaliers to pull it off.
“We couldn’t afford him,” James said of Wade possibly joining the Cavs after last season, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s that simple.”
“I support my guys — you guys know that,” James added. “That was a decision that he wanted to make, and I support him.”
James left Cleveland as a free agent in 2010 to join Wade’s Miami Heat team, along with free-agent star Chris Bosh. This trio went to four straight NBA Finals with the Heat and won two of them (2012 and 2013).
James, to the surprise of many, left Miami shortly after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals and made a return to Cleveland. He’s led the Cavs to back-to-back Finals appearances — both against the Golden State Warriors — winning the franchise’s first championship in June.
While it wasn’t inconceivable that James would eventually come back to his hometown, the thought of Wade leaving Miami certainly seemed like a slim possibility. He’s the best player in Heat history and the community loves him.
But the longer Wade and the Heat went into free agency without agreeing to a new contract, the chances of him leaving increased, and possible destinations included Cleveland and the Chicago Bulls. Wade ultimately landed in Chicago — his hometown — to join the Bulls, but it definitely would’ve been cool to see him and James chase another title with the Cavaliers.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
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