Fred Hoiberg: Dwyane Wade still 'capable on any night to have a big-scoring game'

Whether Dwyane Wade is ring chasing, teaming up with good friend LeBron James in Cleveland or both, Fred Hoiberg has a warning for those selling Wade short.

"He's always capable on any night to have a big-scoring game," the Bulls coach said. "He showed last year, especially in clutch situations, the ability to take over a game. That's what he has been doing his whole career."

Wade, who will turn 36 in January, averaged 18.3 points in just 29.9 minutes over 60 games last season for the Bulls. He shot a career-low 43.4 percent and his scoring average marked the second-lowest — behind his rookie season — of his 14-year career.

The Bulls bought out Wade's contract Sunday when Wade agreed to give back $8.5 million of his $23.8 million. After clearing waivers Wednesday, Wade signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers.

"I'm excited for Dwyane to get the opportunity to compete for a championship again," Hoiberg said. "That's very important to him as he winds down his career.

"I think it's great for the Cavs. He's going to an established situation. He's obviously going to play with a guy he has great chemistry with and won championships with in LeBron."

Wade also will team for the first time with Derrick Rose, whom Hoiberg coached for one season after Hoiberg replaced Tom Thibodeau.

"I love the year I was able to be around Derrick. I like him a lot, wish him nothing but the best and the same thing with Dwyane," Hoiberg said. "When you have LeBron, the most dominant player in the game, and surround him with really high quality players, they're going to be a force."

Whether or not the Cavaliers are the favorites to win their fourth straight Eastern Conference championship, Hoiberg isn't sure.

"It's going to be very competitive," he said. "Obviously with Boston and the moves they made, it's going to be fun opening night to see those two teams go against each other. You look at the success LeBron has had the last seven years where he has been in a Finals, it's hard to bet against him. But some other teams have made some very good moves to be competitive and to push him to the limits.''

Moving on: Wade released a statement after joining the Cavaliers.

"There's no better place to be right now to continue to play and compete at the highest level," the statement read. "Cleveland believes in my talents and what I can bring to a championship contender, both as a player and leader. I look forward to reuniting and playing alongside my brother LeBron. We've already won two championships together and I hope we win a third."

Echoing comments he made in a Sunday interview with the Tribune, Wade called his decision to leave the Bulls "difficult" and expressed gratitude for the opportunity "seeing my Mom on the sidelines cheering me on as a Bull."

Wade also vowed to continue doing community service for his hometown, which he also did during his 13-year stint with the Heat.

Layups: Robin Lopez isn't focused on how his attractive contract could make him a trade chip as the Bulls rebuild. "The league's a business," he said. "Right now, I'm excited to be here. I'm having a good time playing with these guys." ... Draft Express reported the Bulls signed guard Bronson Koenig, whom Hoiberg tried to recruit to Iowa State. Koenig shot 39 percent from 3-point range at Wisconsin and has a long shot chance at one of two remaining roster spots.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad