Impact of Dwyane Wade Signing With Chicago Bulls

May 9, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) dribbles the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the fourth quarter in game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won in overtime 94-87. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) dribbles the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the fourth quarter in game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won in overtime 94-87. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics route to the Eastern Conference Finals may have gotten easier with Wade taking his talents to the Windy City

One of the most surprising moves this off-season happened a couple of days ago when Dwyane Wade announced his plans to sign with the Chicago Bulls. The 12-time All-Star spent his first 13 seasons with the Miami Heat, but after contract disputes decided it was time for a new chapter in his career.

Despite being 34-years-old, Wade is still very efficient. He’s not the same player who led the league with 30.2 points per game in 2008-09, however, 19 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game is far from poor production. With that being said, Wade leaving Miami changed the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and arguably made the Boston Celtics‘ route to the Eastern Conference Finals a lot easier.

While the Bulls added a third big name to their roster to alongside Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler, I have a hard time believing this team will finish anywhere near the Celtics, or cause them any sort of problem in the playoffs.

For one, all three guards are ball-dominant. They all need the ball to be effective, and none are great outside shooters. While Rondo did lead the league in assists per game last season, he doesn’t have DeMarcus Cousins next to him this year and Chicago’s two main scorers each shot under 35 percent from three last season.

Both Wade and Butler make their living on getting to the basket, as well, and that doesn’t fit well with a drive and kick point guard like Rondo. All three players thrive on driving the lane and kicking it out to an open three-point shooter, except none of them can act as the kick-out option.

Also, Fred Hoiberg was brought into Chicago from Iowa State to run a fast-paced, high-tempo offense similar to what he ran with the Cyclones. Not only does the signing of older players like Wade and Rondo prevent him from doing that, but, like previously noted, their offense will be more oriented to getting to the basket rather than outside shooting. So, while they’re big names, it’s somewhat confusing how Chicago will fit the pieces together.

Not to mention the Bulls traded away Mike Dunleavy to the Cleveland Cavaliers to clear cap room to sign Wade. Dunleavy isn’t an All-Star, however he’s a consistent three-point threat who would have fit very well with Rondo in a bench role. Now, the Bulls have to turn to third-year players Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic – who has been an inconsistent three-point shooter in his career.

The Wade signing will push the Bulls back into the playoffs, but they don’t pose a real threat to Boston. Actually, the Celtics match up very well with the Bulls.

Rondo is coming off one of his worst defensive seasons of his career with the Kings last season, giving a score-first guard like Isaiah Thomas a clear advantage. Also, with Rondo’s poor outside shot, Avery Bradley can guard Dwyane Wade and the Celtics won’t be at a disadvantage with Thomas on defense.

Not to mention that the constant movement by Bradley and Jae Crowder on offense will give the older Wade problems. Jimmy Butler will still be the same defensive stud he’s been his whole career, although he can’t guard both players at once.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

When looking at the front court, Al Horford is clearly the most talented big on the floor between these two teams. Robin Lopez isn’t a terrible match-up, but you’d be hard-pressed to say Lopez will give him fits. Even with the Celtics weaker power forward position, Taj Gibson isn’t known for stuffing the stat sheet on offense, and Bobby Portis is coming off an up-and-down rookie campaign.

The Bulls have a chance to give the Celtics problems down low, but their offense won’t be centered around their front court and the Celtics have an underrated defensive front court, as well. Therefore, the Bulls will likely return to the playoffs after their one-year absence, but I doubt they’ll strike fear into opposing teams, especially Boston.

As far as the Miami Heat, the loss of Wade gives the Celtics the clear advantage over the three teams they finished tied for third with last season. Even with Chris Bosh expected to return, they lost too many pieces to be as competitive as last year.

Role players like Joe Johnson and Luol Deng played a huge factor in their success late in the season. Also, Tyler Johnson is expected to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Stars get the most media attention but it’s impossible to win without a solid supporting cast. With three key players on their way out, the Heat don’t have the money to replace their production.

Right now, they’re locked up financially with Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Bosh on huge contracts. They were able to keep their star center, however, it may have cost them more than they were expecting.

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With the Heat seemingly out of the picture, the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks also didn’t have phenomenal summers. The Hornets lost Al Jefferson and Jeremy Lin to free agency, and their only big signings were bringing back Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. Even with Jefferson’s declining play, losing two key role players and with no new additions, yet, will most likely end up hurting them next season.

Yes, Batum on less than a max deal was a great signing, but they didn’t get any better. Besides, most people believed they overachieved and were in for a decline in wins anyways, but now it’s almost certain.

Then, of course, the Atlanta Hawks swapped out Al Horford for Dwight Howard. Not only was that a questionable move at best, but it also helped the Celtics get better. Not to mention their three-team trade that sent Jeff Teague to Indiana. It ended up backfiring as they weren’t able to use the extra pick as leverage to trade for a star to attract Horford back to Atlanta. The Dennis Schroder era is upon us, and I’m not positive it’ll be smooth sailing right away.

Next: What would it take to land Russell Westbrook?

With Wade signing with the Bulls, it let a non-title contender leap into the playoff picture and took away a threat to the Boston Celtics at the same time. Now, it seems that the Celtics are leading the second tier of Eastern Conference teams behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s still far from a sure thing that they’ll be in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the road got a lot easier with Wade returning home.