With one day left before free agency begin, the Miami Heat got official word from Dwyane Wade that he’s opting out of his deal in hope of landing a longer, fatter contract. Luol Deng, after wrestling with the decision for some time, decided against opting out and will remain with the team for at least one more season.
Wade, the greatest player in the history of the franchise (although not the best, that’s LeBron, but with a shorter time in the uniform), is opting out and giving up on $16.1 million and is looking for a three-year deal that will pay him $60 million. As the opting out makes it quite clear, the Heat don’t want to pay him that much money, but is Wade worth that much to anyone but the Miami Heat?
Remember – Wade has been playing for the Heat since 2003, winning three titles; along with Udonis Haslem, he’s been the only player to be along for the ride on all three championships. Wade feels that he has given the team a discount on two occasions (when LeBron & Bosh joined in 2010 and also last year by opting out and taking a paycut, keeping Bosh but losing LeBron), and it’s time for him to be reimbursed.
But Wade is no longer the player he was in 2010, or even 2012. Injuries are forcing him to sit more and more games. He did average 21.5 points per game last season, but missed 20 games, slightly better than missing (some of them due to rest sit out) 28 in the previous year. What’s clear, is that he’s far from the dominant player he used to be, or at least not on an entire-season basis.
While Wade is trying to see if someone out there is willing to give him that kind of money (probably not, but maybe he has closed the door on coming back to Miami, feeling disrespected and prefers getting paid less money somewhere else), Luol Deng gave up on trying to test the market. Not that he’s in a bad situation: He’ll make $10.1 million next season, possibly thinking that going for a long term deal right now isn’t the smartest of ideas.
Deng averaged 14 points per game last season for the Heat, playing in 72 games. It was his 11th season in the league, and after just turning 30, with so many minutes logged throughout the years, his window to sign a long term, relatively lucrative deal is running out.