Perhaps for the first time in his NBA career, it seems that Dwyane Wade leaving the Miami Heat could be a real possibility.
In the lead-up to free agency, it was reported that Wade and the Heat’s contract negotiations hit a wall, with Wade’s camp letting other teams know he would listen to contract offers.
Now, a week later, Wade and the Heat still can’t come to an agreement, and things are starting to get ugly.
According to Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald, Wade felt slighted by the Heat’s priorities in the offseason, which included re-signing center Hassan Whiteside to a near-max. deal and chasing Kevin Durant in free agency. Le Batard reports that Wade refused to help the Heat recruit Durant, instead leaving for vacation (with LeBron James, it should be noted).
Additionally, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Wade wants a contract worth $50 million over two years. The Heat have reportedly offered $40 million over two years and refuse to budge.
Now, it seems that Wade is truly willing to test the Heat. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Wade will meet with the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Nuggets are a real player here, as they have reportedly offered Wade a contract worth over $50 million over two years.
It’s essentially become a staring contest between Wade and the Heat. The Heat reportedly don’t believe Wade would truly leave the team to go to Denver, who missed the playoffs last season, after spending his entire 13-year career in Miami. However, the possibility has been opened for the first time.
Wade has never been the Heat’s highest-paid player and has taken pay cuts in recent years to give the Heat more flexibility. While it’s fair to question the benefits of giving a 34-year-old with an injury history and a lot of miles $25 million per year, it’s also hard to blame Wade for his contract demands. He’s willingly taken a backseat for the Heat before, and after they missed on Durant while players around the NBA signed exorbitant, eight- and sometimes nine-digit contacts, Wades wants his own big deal.
On Tuesday, Wade tweeted a cryptic message:
Relationships are important people!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 4, 2016
While the Cavaliers have been rumoured to get involved in the chase to reunite James and Wade, Cleveland doesn’t have the cap space to sign Wade. They would have to either trade several players to get under the cap to fit Wade’s deal, or James would have to take a paycut, which Windhorst reports he’s unwilling to do.
In the end, Wade and the Heat may end up finding commonground — most people don’t believe Wade will really choose Denver over Miami. But in the meantime, both sides seem unwilling to flinch, and if Wade feels as slighted as reports indicate, he could end up wearing another uniform come October.
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