By trading away their best player, the Chicago Bulls basically started their rebuilding phase. Some would say a year or maybe two too late, but that’s water under the bridge. The hottest rumor coming out of Chi-town regarding their basketball team is the will they or won’t they buyout Dwyane Wade. With just one year on his deal, there’s no reason to let go of him unless it’s him that’s pushing to leave.
Wade opted into the final year of the two-year deal he signed last season and will make $23.8 million. He doesn’t seemed to be ring-chasing. He already has 3 championships with the Miami Heat, and although he probably would have hoped to play for his hometown team during a more competitive era, he left the Heat to make more money, and doesn’t seem to mind playing on a team that’s not going to make the playoffs this year.
Yes, Wade isn’t part of the Bulls long term plan. In my opinion, a team in a rebuilding phase should do its best to use only players it sees itself holding on to in the next few years, when things start to get better. Wade can still ball, averaging 18.3 points in 29.9 minutes last season, but he missed 22 games last season and is pushing 36. He’s probably gone after this season, unless he’s willing to take a lot less money after the summer of 2018, and maybe do some mentoring, which doesn’t really seem like his style.
But rebuilding doesn’t mean losing on purpose. Or at least it shouldn’t. The Bulls don’t have a team for the playoffs, with very little depth, especially while Nikola Mirotic is still unsigned (a qualifying offer seems like the most likely scenario at the moment). The projected lineup looks like Kris Dunn, Wade, Zach LaVine, Bobby Portis and Robin Lopez. The bench has very little playmaking ability right now and mostly young guys who need plenty of developing, or have a ceiling of role players, like fan favorite Paul Zipser.
Maybe at some point this season Wade gets an itch on one of his fingers to try and add another ring. Not getting into who is more or less likely to win or add Wade, it’ll probably come down to finances. In his current state, having Wade on the team isn’t hurting anyone and may even be beneficial. The Bulls are doing a light tank, which means hoping they go through their rebuild phase as quickly as the Boston Celtics did. For now, Wade isn’t going to be getting in the way.