The biggest question remaining in the 2016 NBA free agency is where Dwyane Wade decides to go. The Miami Heat are hoping he stays, the Denver Nuggets are offering more money than anyone, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are offering a chance to play for the championship right now, and do it alongside LeBron James.
Who is offering what?
- The Heat, the team Wade has played for his entire career (since 2003), are offering Wade two years, $40 million overall. This means Wade will make the same amount of money he did last season on average. Is he happy with that?
- The Nuggets really want to land Wade and make some sort of splash to give their young team some push. They’re offering Wade a two-year, $50 million deal
- The Cavaliers don’t have the cap space to add Wade for this kind of money. LeBron James isn’t taking a discount, nor should he. A sign & trade? Something more complicated involving the Bucks and Nuggets? Wade has followed the Cavs on Instagram, and is going to meet with them. It’s interesting to say the least
From everything we’re hearing, the important thing to Wade here is respect, which usually means money. The Heat’s offer isn’t bad, but there’s a better one on the outside, and there’s a good chance that being low balled initially by Miami, not for the first time, is something of a straw that broke the Wade’s back, and he’s intent on leaving, no matter what. But if this is just business, it’s Wade fishing for offers (and getting them), until the Heat come around and give him what he wants.
The Nuggets aren’t a bad team. If it weren’t for injuries, they could have stayed in a playoff race a bit longer last season before falling out, and they have a good coach in Mike Malone. A lot hinges on his ability to refine Emmanuel Mudiay into an efficient point guard and become a centerpiece for this team. Wade could bring them a lot they’re missing, but Denver are rarely somewhere free agents (in the NBA) dream of going.
The lure of the Cavaliers and playing on the best team in the East, almost guaranteed to make the NBA Finals by how the last two postseasons have gone down, could be too great for Wade. Money? Cleveland, according to “sources”, are trying to work on a trade with the Denver Nuggets or Milwaukee Bucks – have them sign Wade for the money he wants, and then a bit later down the line, make the trade and send him to Cleveland.
Entering his 14th NBA season, it’s sometimes hard to gauge what’s motivating Wade: More championships? More money? Just having fun? I guess we’ll know in the next few days. It won’t mean much for the Cavs or Nuggets if they fail to sign him. It’ll be a mini-earthquake in Miami if Wade leaves.