It is worth remembering, as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James embark on their reunion in Cleveland, that Wade recruited James to join him in Miami seven years ago.
As the headliners in a collective that also featured Chris Bosh, Wade and James crammed greatness into their four seasons as teammates on the Heat: four consecutive trips to the N.B.A. finals and two championships. It almost felt inappropriate, unbefitting of their excellence, that their run ended with a loss.
On June 15, 2014, in the immediate aftermath of that defeat, James and Wade sat side by side — together to the end — on a makeshift dais and took questions from reporters. The San Antonio Spurs had been too much for them and their teammates, winning the series, four games to one. Both of them were about to head into free agency.
“It’s been a hell of a ride these four years,” Wade said to the reporters, his words marbled with a vein of finality, as if he knew what was coming. “And when we decided to play together, we didn’t say, ‘O.K., let’s try for four years.’ We said, ‘Let’s play together and see what happens.’ ”
Actually, a lot has also happened in the three years since that news conference. James, in his triumphant second act with the Cavaliers, delivered a championship to Cleveland. Wade spent two more seasons with the Heat before making a cameo with the Bulls in Chicago, his hometown. And the Golden State Warriors emerged as the most fearsome team on the planet
Now, though, Wade and James have joined together one more time. The Cavaliers announced on Wednesday that they had signed Wade to a one-year deal worth $2.3 million. It was one last, semi-splashy move for the league as players adjust to the demands of training camp, and preseason games begin to approach. A host of N.B.A. stars realigned themselves over the summer with the shared goal, however futile, of stalking the Warriors. Now the Cavaliers have done the same, as modest as the acquisition of Wade may seem.
Wade posted a statement on Twitter on Wednesday calling his time in Chicago a “dream” but expressing high hopes for the Cavaliers. “There’s no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level,” he wrote. “Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender both as a player and leader.”