LeBron James could read the writing on the wall, same as everybody else in the league — the second the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler this summer they were committed to a rebuild, and Dwyane Wade was not going to be a part of that. Wade had opted into the $23 million he was owed for the season, but a buyout would be coming.
LeBron wasted no time getting on the recruiting trail, Wade told Rachel Nichols of ESPN, saying LeBron started recruiting him right after the Butler trade. He said the first texts were temperature taking, and from there often didn’t involve basketball at all — the two are friends and enjoy many of the same things, such as a good glass of wine. But over time the recruitment started to pick up.
(By the way, it’s not recruiting if LeBron does this, but if the GM reaches out and tells Wade his team is interested it’s tampering. Got to love the NBA rules.)
Wade said when he talked to LeBron during workouts in Los Angeles, he really saw how their career arcs again fit well and should cross paths.
He added the decision was not easy because of the emotional pull of Miami — he still wants to retire a member of the Heat. Wade said his heart is still there, but he didn’t want to pass up this opportunity.
Wade gets to spend a season playing with his friend, competing for a title, and then next summer it will be decision time again for both him and LeBron. This may well be a one-year run, but it’s easy to see what drew Wade to it — and that is LeBron. On and off the court.