A busy and critical free agency period for the Miami Heat has possibly gotten even more difficult, with Dwyane Wade reportedly open to advances from other teams.
Just a negotiation ploy? Wade has said he’d hope the negotiations between him and the team had gone more smoothly up to this point. He signed a $20 million deal last summer after a number of weeks of going back and forth. The franchise seemed to be looking for some hometown discount from Wade, who wasn’t happy about it. There were rumors of contact with other teams, and there will probably be more of these this offseason, but once again, it’s hard to believe Wade leaves the only team he has ever played for, winning three NBA championships since 2003. Wade isn’t a max contract type of player anymore, but he probably isn’t too happy about “taking one for the team” and getting paid less than what he thinks he’s owed, even if it means helping the Heat out.
Wade had something of a rejuvenation type season. He averaged 19 points on 30.5 minutes per game, playing in 74 games, the most he’s had in a season since 2010-2011. He might not be completely healthy and will be turning 35 next season, but the knee problems that had made things difficult for him, limiting his playing time over the last few years, seem to be a thing of the past. Wade helped the Heat make the conference semifinals in 2016, dragging the Toronto Raptors to a game 7 before bowing out of the postseason. The Heat failed to make the playoffs in 2015.
Miami have nine free agents and about $40 million in cap space. Wade, Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng are on top of that list. Whiteside seems to be on his way out, while the Heat are focusing on signing Kevin Durant. Obviously, if Durant does sign, Deng won’t be retained unless he takes a massive discount, but it might also entice the Heat to go all-in and lavish players with the salaries they’re looking for while going way above the luxury tax.
One lingering question has been Chris Bosh’s healthy. Bosh signed a five-year deal worth $118 million in 2014, but has twice been sidelined due to health concerns stemming from blood clots. He has played only 97 games over the last two seasons, and while Bosh keeps saying he wants to be back on the floor, and was even hoping to play a little bit in the playoffs, doctors and the organization might be trying to convince him to retire, with complications possibly leading to life-threatening situations.
Wade, the 5th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, has played for the Heat ever since, winning NBA titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013, including the Finals MVP in 2006. He is averaging 23.7 points through 855 career games, surpassing 20,000 career points last season. He’s the franchise leader in almost every offensive category, including points, the only Miami player with more than 10,000 career points. He and Udonis Haslem are the only Heat players with over 800 games for the franchise.