By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Dwyane Wade has reunited with friend and former teammate LeBron James by signing a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA team said on Wednesday.
Wade, who won two of his three NBA championships with James while the two were teammates with the Miami Heat from 2010-2014, joins a Cleveland team that has reached the last three Finals and won it all in 2016.
“There’s no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level,” Wade, who was the NBA Finals’ Most Valuable Player when he won his first title in 2006, said in a statement.
“Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender both as a player and leader.
“I look forward to reuniting and playing alongside my brother LeBron. We’ve already won two championships together and I hope we win a third.”
Wade, who agreed to a contract buyout with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, will be relied on heavily in Cleveland with recently-acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas likely out until January as he continues to heal from a hip injury.
A 12-times All-Star, Wade has averaged 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game during the regular season and ranks 11th on the all-time postseason scoring list.
Wade, taken fifth overall by Miami in the 2003 NBA Draft, also won a gold medal with the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
“Dwyane has proven time and time again that he is a leader and competitor of the highest caliber and that his focus is centered on the ultimate goal,” Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman said in a statement.
“The deep commitment and consistency that he has shown to the game as a 12-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Champion is remarkable and he’s going to be a difference maker on the court and in the locker room with our team.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Rex Gowar)
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