Former Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade is set to become the starting shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
As much was confirmed by Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue on Monday, via NBA.com, with the 40-year-old indicating that the three-time champion will be replacing J.R. Smith in the starting lineup.
Wade will be joined by Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Jae Crowder, and Kevin Love in the Cavs’ first unit, as they look to wrestle the NBA title back from the Golden State Warriors, who beat them in the finals last year. Cleveland and Golden State have been trading the title for the last three seasons, but Steph Curry and Co. have won two out of the last three finals to become the most feared team in the league.
The Cavs lost Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics after the player demanded a trade this summer, getting Isaiah Thomas in return. But the latter has been suffering from a hip injury that could leave him sidelined for months still.
Wade, meanwhile, joined up with the Eastern Conference champs following a buyout agreement with the Bulls last month. The 14-year veteran won two titles alongside LeBron in Miami before King James decided to return to Ohio three years ago, and has hopes of snagging another before he closes the chapter on his NBA career.
Last season, he played 60 games for the Bulls, recording averages of 18.3 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent.
Now 35-years-old, and having suffered several injury setbacks over the course of his career, it was thought that Wade would begin the season coming off the bench for the Cavs. But despite the loss of the terrifying explosiveness that made him one of the most exciting players to watch in his younger days, Wade is still one of the most talented guards out there and has Lue confident in his ability to help carry the team.
According to coach Lue, Smith is “fine” with getting demoted to the bench. Lue admits that it was tough, given the fact that Smith has been a starting shooting guard that has gone to two straight finals, but he insists that the player was okay with making the sacrifice for the good of the team.
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]