Whoa! After a slow morning, the NBA trade deadline started popping off around noon. The Cleveland Cavaliers essentially rebuilt their entire team on the fly, with one of the moves sending 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade back to Miami for a protected second-round pick, according to reports. The Cavs also acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a deal with the Jazz and Kings and Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in a trade with the Lakers. Gone are Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Jae Crowder.
It was certainly a busy few hours for the NBA. For now, let’s grade the Wade trade for both Miami and Cleveland.
Cleveland Cavaliers: B
This is a fairly meaningless trade for Cleveland, whose need for Wade decreased after acquiring a handful of guards to buttress its rotation. Wade had reportedly been looking to return to Miami for a little bit, and it appears the parting was amicable between the two sides. Wade certainly had some moments coming off the bench for the Cavs this season, but Cleveland desperately needed an injection of new blood, and parking Wade on the sideline while the team’s chemistry is already volatile made sense for no one. Good on both parties for being up front with each other and nipping any potential issues in the bud.
Miami Heat: A++
The Miami Heat just re-acquired their franchise leader in games, minutes played, field goal attempts, field goals made, points, assists and steals. Look, Wade doesn’t change the Heat’s short-term outlook. But with Miami in the midst of a five-game skid, this team needed a shot in the arm. Wade provides a steadying veteran presence, and someone who can help the Heat in clutch situations. This move is about more than basketball, however. Dwyane Wade never should have left Miami. Sometimes you just have to go down with the ship. Wade’s days of leading a title contender are long gone. But the Miami fans who’ve stuck with him since 2003 deserve a chance to see him finish his career where it all started. Expect Miami’s next home game to be a sell out—with a bunch of Miami Vice Wade jerseys in the stands. Expect me to be one of those people in the stands.