After missing the postseason, the Miami Heat aren’t finding moving on from that easy. Dwyane Wade wants to opt out of his contract and negotiate a long-term, bigger deal, which doesn’t seem to be in the team’s best interest.
Last season the Heat were all about waiting to see what LeBron James decides. He opted out of his deal but instead of re-signing on a maximum contract with the Heat he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wade, who has spent his entire career with the Heat, opted out of the final two years on his deal (worth $41 million) and took a pay cut, signing a new contract worth $31 million over two years.
Wade made it known that he’s very interested to see what his value will be in the 2016 summer, when the NBA’s salary cap will supposedly skyrocket to almost $90 million, giving everyone quite a hefty salary bump. But now, it seems that he wants to opt out of the one year remaining on his deal and wants the Heat to sign him on a three-year contract.
The Heat have no problem with Wade playing for them until he retires, but obviously, they don’t want to pay him what he’s looking for. If Wade opts in, he’ll be paid $16.1 million and the Heat, will be on the books for $72.5 million, assuming Dragic opts out and Luol Deng opts in. But Wade asking for more money hurts the Heat’s flexibility, as Chris Bosh makes $22.1 million next season and gradually rising through the 2018-2019 season, finally paying him $26.8 million. That doesn’t leave a lot of room to be flexible.
Wade had something of a bounce back season, although it was more about stretches of good and bad basketball, depending on how fatigued he was. He wasn’t that consistent. Still, averaging 21.5 points per game in 31.8 minutes isn’t bad at all, but he did miss 20 games, and hasn’t missed less than 13 games in a season since 2010-2011, meaning the Heat do have legitimate concerns about their money being put on someone who might spend long stretches resting or healing up.
It’s weird to imagine Wade not playing for the Heat and actually, it’s hard to see any team giving him more money than what Miami will be offering him or what he makes next season. But with three championship rings, maybe Wade’s first priority right now is making the most, financially, of his remaining years, which comes into conflict with what the Heat are trying to do.