With the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade unable to come to an agreement about a new contract, the Los Angeles Lakers might end up taking advantage of the situation through free agency, although it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for them to do so.
Why aren’t the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade agreeing to a contract? Wade does have a player option worth $16.1 million for next season, which seems quite reasonable considering his ability and especially his injury situation, which kept him out from 20 games last season and 29 in 2013-2014. But he wants to opt out, and make the kind of money he thinks he deserves.
Wade is working on the basis that he’s been underpaid. He took less money to make the Big Three thing work and then saw LeBron James take off to sign a max deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers while Chris Bosh got preference over Wade and was signed to a five-year, max deal by the Heat. Wade, maybe the best player not just in the history of the franchise but also the city in all sports (including Dan Marino), wants to be compensated for his loyalty.
The Heat plan on signing Goran Dragic to an $80 million, five year deal and hope the Slovenian guard doesn’t get greedy and start looking for a $100 million contract. But more than anything, they have their sight on Kevin Durant in 2016. A free agent who might stay in Oklahoma City or perhaps join the Wizards, going back home to Washington, but the Heat are always an option in free agency battles.
The Heat don’t mind Wade getting out of his contract and waving his player option, but they’d like him to take even less money so the Durant dream can happen. Wade, after three NBA titles, perhaps not as hungry as in the past to make adjustments in order to team himself up with stars, prefers to make as much money as possible in what remains of his career.
So there’s interest from the Lakers and from Wade, this coming from multiple sources (Mannix, Jackson). The Lakers have all the cap space in the world to bring in anyone, and are well aware that the best free agents available might not want to join them very much. Not with very little chance of success, and not with Kobe Bryant on the team.
But Wade? For max or close to max money? On a team that already has a shooting guard that’s not too fond of competition in terms of leadership or for time with the ball? Let us not forget Jordan Clarkson, a player the franchise has been viewing as a big part of their future. He is more a shooting guard than a point guard, and bringing in Wade will further hold him back.
Wade is a big name, but no longer as good or effective as he used to be. If the Lakers offer Wade the kind of money he’s looking for, there’s no way he turned it down. But considering the individuals involved, anything but a one-year contract for Wade and even that just doesn’t make sense, and this has the makings of another catastrophic season for a team that can’t afford one.