LeBron James has revealed that the Cleveland Cavaliers were eager to sign Dwyane Wade, but couldn’t afford to.
After spending the first 13 years of his NBA career with the Miami Heat, where he became the face of the franchise, Wade decided to leave and join his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls, on a two-year deal worth $47 million.
With the Cavaliers having a plethora of talented players on their roster, including James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, they could only offer Wade the taxpayer midlevel exception, which would have been worth approximately $3.5 million.
In the end, they used that money to retain the services of Richard Jefferson.
"We couldn't afford him," James said. "It's that simple."
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue added: "Who wouldn't be interested in a Hall of Famer? That don't even make sense. Yeah, we wanted him."
Wade’s decision to join the Bulls was met with praise and criticism, but James, who played with Wade at the Heat for four seasons, revealed that he stands by the 34-year-old's decision.
"I support my guys — you guys know that," James said. "That was a decision that he wanted to make, and I support him."
Meanwhile, James admitted that he wasn’t shocked about the fact that his time in Miami with Wade and Chris Bosh didn’t last longer, even though they reached the final on three occasions during their time together and were crowned NBA champions twice.
"In professional sports, things can change from one year to another like that, so I've always had that perspective ever since I came into the NBA," James said. "I've always known it's a business and you could be with one team this year — have teammates this year, the next year you might not have them. That's part of the business. So I'll always have that perspective."