Wade knew LeBron was headed to the Lakers last season

Colton Jones

Though Dwyane Wade played less than a season with close friend LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the future Hall of Famer new his friend was headed to Hollywood long before it became official in July.

Wade told Joe Vardon of The Athletic he knew James was not long for Cleveland when he signed to join him in Cleveland before last season.

“LeBron, first of all, he’s a guy who always plays his cards close to the vest, but I knew his ultimate goal was to be in Los Angeles,” Wade told Vardon. “He recruited me and he talked to me about signing there (Cleveland), and I said, ‘listen, I know you might not be there long, you’re gonna be a free agent and there are some things that might happen, and we’ll have a conversation.’ I just thought I’d make it through the season first.”

Wade, now winding down his stellar NBA career with the Miami Heat, was traded by the Cavaliers back to Miami for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2024.

He said he did not want to be traded and wanted to play in the NBA Finals, where Cleveland was swept by the Golden State Warriors.

“That’s why I signed there in the first place,” Wade said. “If I had known that was gonna happen (the trade), I wouldn’t have signed there. It’s gonna be an item on my resume that’s hard to understand, but it happened.

"I know I filled my role while I was there, as a veteran and a leader. At least I can say I made some really cool relationships with the people who were there.”

Wade averaged 11.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists while with the Cavaliers, shooting a career-best 32.9 percent from the 3-point line. In the Heat's playoff elimination by the Philadelphia 76ers, Wade averaged 16.6 points.

He believes he could have helped Cleveland in the Finals. Even though the Cavaliers were swept by the defending-champion Warriors, Game 1 and Game 3 went down to the wire before being decided.

“Of course that was my reaction,” Wade said. “I’m watching it like, ‘that’s why I went there, to play in this series.’"

Wade said he expected to be in Cleveland for only one season.

“But, you know, things can always change,” he said. “That’s why we were going to have the conversation. But it was supposed to be at the end of the season, after we made it to the Finals.”

Wade that conversation did take place, not after the Finals, obviously, but after his trade to Miami went down.

“It wasn’t like he came out said, ‘oh, you’re traded, I’m going to the Lakers,’" Wade said. "But like I said, I knew where his heart was and what he was thinking big picture."