LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are close friends. They won two NBA championships together with the Miami Heat.
James left the Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers two years ago. When it became apparent Wade was ready to leave Miami as a free agent this summer, folks naturally assumed the Cavaliers would be interested in adding their superstar’s buddy.
And they were, James confirmed to reporters Wednesday after practice.
Just one problem though.
“We couldn’t afford him,” James said. “It’s that simple.”
That’s an understatement. Wade ended up signing a two-year deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls worth around $47 million.
The most Cleveland could have offered him was the taxpayer midlevel exception of about $3.5 million.
But rest assured the Cavaliers were interested in adding Wade to a lineup that already includes James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.
“Who wouldn’t be interested in a [future] Hall of Famer?” Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue said. “That don’t even make sense. Yeah, we wanted him.”