The Heat and Dwyane Wade have been discussing potential resolutions of his contract situation and there’s a significant difference in what both parties believe he should be paid for the next three seasons, according to multiple sources.
Though Wade prefers to stay with the Heat, where he has spent his entire 12-year career, he is now open to considering other teams this summer if the Heat does not raise its offer, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
Wade has a $16.1 million player option for next season, the result of re-structuring his contract by signing a two-year, $31 million deal so the Heat could make other moves, like max out Chris Bosh. If Wade were to opt in, it looks like he’d want a new long term deal that might be a little pricey for the Heat, whose immediate focus is re-signing Goran Dragic to a max deal and probably having to increase Hassan Whiteside’s salary. For Miami, the future of the franchise is becoming more of a priority, but Wade’s stature obviously earns him a reasonable compromise.
Logical solution for Wade/Heat: Opt out of $16.1mil, sides agree to 1-yr/$24mil. Wade gets back most of $ gave up. Heat get 2016 flexibility
— Michael Wallace (@WallaceNBA_ESPN) May 29, 2015
Most feel that Wade and the Heat will be able to work this out. From a competitive standpoint, there’s clear incentive for Wade to return. He has a talent like Dragic to work with and with a healthy Chris Bosh, the Heat could have been a scary playoff team.
But if Wade and the Heat can’t come to terms and he decides it’s time for a different challenge to finish his career, I see the New York Knicks as his best option in free agency. They have the money to sign a player of Wade’s caliber and Carmelo Anthony desperately needs someone like his friend Dwyane Wade who has championship/leadership make-up and commands attention on the floor. Wade in the triangle would be beautiful, but more importantly he’d be a strong piece in helping the Knicks get closer to an elite status.
Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report surfaced the rumor that the Lakers might be an option for Wade. This would be the most shocking, but probably the most entertaining to watch Wade go to Kobe’s aid in LA. Depending on how the Lakers fare in the draft and elsewhere in free agency, they may or may not become a more lucrative option.
The Cavaliers, Clippers, and Bulls are also in the rumor mill as potentials for Wade, but for different reasons I don’t see these as realistic options.
At 33, Wade still has plenty to offer. Though injury-prone he played All-Star basketball this season, averaging over 20 points per game. He still has the ability to make plays and change a basketball team. If it’s not going to be with the Heat, Wade might also have the ability to incite a pretty significant power shift if he opts out and becomes a free agent.