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Dwyane Wade says LeBron replaces Kobe as his new favorite opponent

Jul 28, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT

LeBron Wade Getty Images

Kobe Bryant fans love this quote because Dwyane Wade calls Kobe the second best of all time. It’s too early in the week to get into a pointless barstool debate like that, even though everyone rational knows he’s not (second best two-guard… maybe).

Rather I will focus on what Wade said about LeBron James.

You may have heard LeBron left the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It made a little bit of news. Wade hadn’t spoken publicly about that until his youth camp in Chicago, where he was catching passes from Brandon Marshall and having kids asking him about flopping.

Wade was asked who his favorite opponent to go up against was and here is his response, as reported by Bears blog Windy City Gridiron (via Hot Hot Hoops).

“Well, it used to be Kobe Bryant… the second best all time…. now, I have a new favorite player to play against… my former teammate, LeBron James.”

I love the Wade is competitive like that, you don’t get three rings and all the other accolades Wade has gotten without that kind of fire.

But this is not going to be a good matchup for Miami. I think right now Cleveland is a better team and — whether or not they land Kevin Love — one that will improve steadily over the coming years. The Heat are going to be what the Heat are going to be for a couple years — pretty good, entertaining, but not a contender. The Cavaliers will be.

Basically, Wade may be looking forward to competing with LeBron James but I don’t think he’s going to like how it ends.

  1. 4thquartermagic - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    If someone cost me 10 million, he’d be my new favorite enemy… errr… opponent… too.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      If LeBron has replaced Kobe as D-Wade’s favorite opponent, Mr. James better watch out, cause Wade will be coming after him to break his nose next year.

  2. jasper36 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I love how he calls the Cavaliers contenders, without seeing them play one game. I do think they will be better than the Heat, but if for some reason they’re not, then everyone will just make excuses for them.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      You don’t think they are contenders?

      • kinggw - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Unless they get Love or a comparable star, not even close. Without Love they are arguably the third best team in the central. And maybe the third or fourth best team in the East behind the Bulls, Indy, and Washington.

        With Love, they are arguably the favorites in the East with Chicago.

        As i’ve said before its great they have a bunch of young “talent”, that doesn’t mean those guys know how to play and/or win. LBJ solves a lot of problems, he doesn’t solve them all.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        They have the best player in the East.

      • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        It’s REALLY hard to put together a contender in a year, LeBron notwithstanding. The 2014 Spurs team had to percolate for 3 seasons before they were ready to win, losing in the WCFs and then in the Finals. The pieces don’t just fall into place. They didn’t even with the Superfriends in Miami.

      • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        It also depends on what you mean by “contender”. People’s criteria differ, and the word is thrown around rather loosely. My definition is: this team can hoist the LoB trophy THIS year. That kind of cuts the field to SAS and OKC. The Clippers are exciting, but they aren’t getting past either of those two teams, and no one from the EC is winning the Finals this year.

      • kinggw - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        The Cavs have the best player in the World, but we’ve seen the rest of that core couldn’t make the playoffs in a watered down East last season. Other than Irving, who is overrated, the only other potential difference maker on that team is 19 years old and years away from being an actual difference maker.

        If they get Love that changes, but they don’t have him yet and it will take at least a season for them to come together. It took Wade, Bosh, and LBJ an entire year to learn how to play together and they were great friends. It will take even longer with guys who aren’t as tight. That’s not even taking into consideration that there may be some internal struggles over who becomes the second banana and the third wheel of the Cavs’ new big 3.

      • jasper36 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        It’s not that I don’t think they can contend, heck they’re in the Eastern Conference. I just like how the writers make everything such a forgone conclusion. The Lakers were also thought to be contenders when they had Kobe, DH, Gasol, and Nash.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      You don’t have to see them play one game to know they’re contenders. Did you just start following the NBA in the last 4 years?

      • zoomy123 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Cleveland is not a contender. There are only 4 contenders in the NBA: 1) San Antonio; 2) OKC; 3) LAC; 4) Bulls (w/ healthy D-Rose). That’s it.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        Whatever team LeBron is on is a contender. It’s been that way since 2007. James would turn any team into a contender just by his presence.

        The Bulls will be where they’ve always been in the Rose era i.e. eating LeBron’s dust.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        A lot of people say this but I don’t buy the argument. No team with Mo Williams as your second best player can ever be a contender. No Cleveland team LBJ was on was ever a contender. That people expected him to beat 3 HOFers in Boston by his lonesome was a ridiculous expectation.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        “No Cleveland team LBJ was on was ever a contender.”

        -__________________-

        You seem to be confusing “contender” with “champion.” Just because you don’t win the title doesn’t mean you’re not a contender.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        I’m not confusing contender with champion. There can only ever be 1 champion by definition. There can be multiple contenders and I laid them out for you. A contender: A team with a great possibility of winning a championship. No Cleveland team with LBJ on it ever satisfied that condition. Again, no team with Mo Williams as your second best player qualifies as a team with a great possibility of winning a championship, especially when playing against a team with 3 HOFers + Rondo & Rivers.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        LeBron was in the Finals in Cleveland. Being in the Finals means you have a great possibility of winning a championship.

        Generally, I’d say any team that is in the Conference Finals is definitely a contender and any team that wins 60+ games is definitely a contender.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        Being in the Finals doesn’t mean you have a great possibility of winning a championship, unless you have a great possibility of beating your opponent (or hypothetically speaking the best opponent in the opposing conference). Statistically speaking, if you get swept then you actually had a VERY low probability of winning a championship; not impossible, of course, but a low probability nevertheless.

        Ask yourself this: When the Nets went to the Finals did they have a great possibility of beating the Lakers? No one would say yes. Take Miami as another example, statistically speaking there has never been a championship team ranked outside the top 10 in terms of defense. Miami was ranked 11th. That alone was very ominous for Miami’s chances.

        Then factor in that in the last 26 years only 5 teams won a championship without at least 1 superstar and 1 All-Star caliber player (’94 Rockets; ’04 Pistons; ’06 Heat; ’11 Mavericks and ’14 Spurs) and your possibility for winning a championship declines rather precipitously. Again, no team with Mo Williams as your second best player is a contender.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        “Being in the Finals doesn’t mean you have a great possibility of winning a championship”

        Oh give me a freakin’ break. Just stop already.

      • zoomy123 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        Well, if you’re going to quote me out of context and make straw man arguments, then, yes, that sentence by itself sounds counter-intuitive. But as I explained, my statement is correct.

        The Nets never had a great possibility of beating the Lakers. The 76ers never had a great possibility of beating the Lakers. The Cavs never had a great possibility of beating San Antonio. I could go on, but you get the point.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        It goes without saying that if you’re in the Finals, you’re a contender.

        You’re trying to say that a contender is only a team that you can imagine winning a championship. Which actually means nothing.

        A contender is any team that is good enough to get to the finals to compete for a title.

      • balsagna - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        You’re lying to yourself if you don’t think the Cavs, as is, are competing to come out of the East. That alone makes them contenders.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        I don’t particularly care for LeBron but the Cavs are a contender as long as they have him. Just like any team with Kevin Durant will be.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      The Cavs were a 0.500 team after the all-star break I believe. With young players that are improving. They likely would have been a ~ 42 win team this year without Lebron.

  3. dls612 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Bosh said he putting the team on his shoulder and now wade comment! Glad to hear it! It’s definitely motivation

    • rrhoe - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      I take a healthy Wade over Bosh any day…..

      • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        A healthy Wade? Do you have a time machine, or something? Such a being does not exist at this juncture.

      • rrhoe - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        Wade still impacts games when he plays,key word being “when”,but everybody under the impression that Bosh gonna revert back to his Toronto days and I just don’t see that happening and yes,I do have a time machine……..

  4. joroberts10 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I think we need to go back to the fact that you MAYBE think kobe is 2nd best SG, whose better besides MJ?

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      Great question

      • turkbox420 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:36 AM

        So you`re a Cleveland fan now? I am a Pacers fan, but I am not buying Charlotte gear cuz Lance joined. I respect them, I am happy they changed their logo as that alone makes them better, Big Al is tough. But if Indy plays them I hope Lance gets shut down to zero points and fouls out.
        I guess there are different kinds of fans.
        You going to stop watching games when LBJ retires in a few years too?

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        No, I’m a Lakers fan, just like I’ve always been.

    • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      The Logo.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        With all due respect west was a 6’3″ 170 pound 2 guard who would get destroyed by wade, let alone mj, koby or drexler and a host of others. And i know, different eras but still.

  5. daddyb1gdrawz - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Miami just needs an identity. They cannot expect to continue play small ball without the best player in the league. I would have thought Pat would have signed a bunch of rough, thuggish grinders like the Knicks were to compete against the Cavs.

    • spursareold - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      I think Pat understands that the game has fundamentally changed since his NYK teams took the floor. You can’t even hand check since 2005, let alone the crap his teams used to get away with.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        Yea, i was a knick fan back then, but that was some ugly basketball. I like a little physical play but that was all out wwe wrestling. lol

  6. bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    lbj is great but who do they have on their front line who can shoot,score and spread the floor or create for themselves. Andy is good but always hurt and undersized. Irving and waiters work best creating for themselves and they have no size or defense in their backcourt. Wiggins is raw and hasn’t dominated anywhere he played so far. I saw a high school highlite film on him and he is long and can jump over everyone but his moves and ball handling didn’t stand out as anything special he was just jumping over everyone. He shot 40% in summer league also. He seems to be a few years away at least and i don’t see him with the ball in his very much on this team. They need more pieces and love fills a couple of needs in rebounding and scoring while stretching the floor. They are going to need a great defensive scheme whether they get love or not.

    • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      ball in his hands very much

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        no, his ball is in anti’s hand very much.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      They have LeBron on their front line to shoot, score, spread the floor and create.

      The Cavs already have a great defensive scheme.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        Anti, the whole spreading the floor thing is so lbj and irving can penetrate and get to the rim. If lbj is doing that then who is getting to the rim? Plus lbj is best when creating and he is not the best catch and shoot spot up guy and you know this. And you don’t know the defensive scheme they will use yet and they don’t have many good defenders. One guy can’t do it all as history esp. for the cavs has shown and young teams don’t win chips.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        If LeBron draws a PF or C out to the perimeter it’s so Irving could get to the rim. Irving is quite the dynamic offensive force.

        LeBron is actually a fantastic catch and shoot spot up shooter. Last year he was top 10 in the league in catch and shoot eFG%. He’s even more deadly on threes – trailing only Kyle Korver in catch and shoot three point percentage. Miami changed LeBron – he’s excellent off ball now whether taking catch and shoot threes or setting screens or cutting without the ball.

        LBJ gives Cleveland a good defensive scheme. LeBron hasn’t been on a bad defensive team since 2006 and that isn’t going to change this season.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Anti, he had a career year shooting last year. Also him catching the ball on the outside and doing 3or4 jab steps before shooting is not catch and shoot. You have him doing everything on both sides of the ball at once. The cavs, on both sides of the ball don’t have as much talent as the heat did the last 4 years and even the heat last year fell off on defense compared to previous years. And when is a center or even a pf going to cover lbj? What are you smoking? And how does lbj GIVE them a defensive SCHEME? He gives them a very good defender so who is the other defender on this team, or maybe 2 other defenders? Irving is a ghost on defense and waiters is undersized at the 2 and sucks also. You sound like you have cloned lbj so maybe they will win with 5 lbj. lol

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        I’m not talking about jab steps – I’m talking about catching and shooting. In any case, all the players are tracked using the same definition and he was elite last year.

        Sometimes the Heat would put a very small lineup out on the floor and force the other team to decide between going small or putting their PF or C on LeBron. It happens. The Spurs put their PF on LeBron a lot – chunky Diaw. Other teams try that with guys who aren’t suited to it like Diaw is – and they usually fail miserably.

        But imagine if the Cavs picked up Love and they played Love at the 5 and LeBron at the 4. The Heat did that a lot with Bosh/Andersen and LeBron – but with Love instead of Bosh you can do it and maintain elite rebounding. Ultimate small ball the likes of which the Heat could never realize because Bosh can’t rebound and Wade can’t shoot threes.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        also forgot they have a new coach, did you talk to him about his defensive scheme?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Well he’s known as a good defensive coach. But LeBron turns any coach into a good defensive coach, so I don’t think his opinion on his scheme even matters.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        until he catches cramps

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Some team will try to go Belichick/Popovich on him again – attempt to get an edge with another something-gate.

        But if it’s not around 100 degrees in the building then you’re probably going to be out of luck in the forced cramps department.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        oh, so i guess that’s why he left smoldering miami.
        hahahahahaha

      • antistratfordian - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        Except he never cramped in Miami. Just in Oklahoma and Texas. Believe it or not, the temperature in Miami has only reached 100 degrees once since 1895. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Miami, Florida is exactly 100 degrees which occurred in July 1942.

        Fascinating, no?

      • campcouch - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        James and Irving do pretty good getting to the rim without a jump shooting big. there’s some kind of rule about guys camping out in the paint and most guys don’t want to get tomahawked on by James.

  7. whitey11177 - Jul 28, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Miami needs to try to see if Greg Oden is healthy then they start a big lineup

    • bigbenh8tr - Jul 28, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Anti,

      You sound like a 12 year old girl

  8. bigbenh8tr - Jul 28, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    It was 96 in Miami today

    • fanofthegame79 - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      But that’s not 100.

  9. fanofthegame79 - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Does anyone else think this is a low blow by Wade? These last four years, it was hard to separate Wade from LeBron’s jock (“Best player in the world…”) and now he’s calling Kobe the second best ever? Seems fishy to me.

  10. ernwop64 - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Makes for a great rivalry.Wade is as good as James when he was in his prime. Wades 4 games in the finals to win the championship is the greatest consecutive games i ever seen in a championship.There might have been 1 or 2 games better but not 4 strait.

  11. deezesoprano - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    This just in, D-wade says “Lebron is my new favorite opponent, but my knees by far are at the top of the list for my best opponent. They lock me down on the court so bad i have to start flopping and hurt people when they wear me down” lol I don’t think D wade is any longer anyones favorite opponent lol

  12. deezesoprano - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    The best part is that wade didn’t forget kobe is number 2 all time great. People get so caught up in Lbj vsMJ they never realize that they skip kobe….the 1 with 5 rings and single handedly led a team with DH, gasol n nash to playoffs…..all kobe too. I say this all the time 70% of Lbj’s game is athleticism…what happens in a few years? he don’t have game like MJ or Kobe cuz only about 20% of they game is athleticism. Durant is more of a kobe mj type of player

  13. tangovader - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Add Lebron to any team in the league , 1-30, and they become contenders to if not win, at least reach the finals. There hasn’t been a player you could say that about since Shaq in his prime. And for those saying that Cleveland isn’t a contender, they had the best record in the league four years ago with a much worse roster.

  14. dziner305 - Jul 29, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    To the writer… To be be a contender is to put together team (or teams) that can compete for chanpionships; something the Heat franchise has done much better than Cleaveland or any other team during their 26 years of existence. With Lebron, who learned from the Heat how to win championships, the Heat a bigger duty to put a contending team together year after year…’cause Pat Riley will always show competitive nature against Lebron. It’s going to be Miami Heat (for as hot in Miami Vs. Miami Cold, for as cold weather in Cleveland). MIAMI HEAT willalways be the big brother!

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