Dwyane Wade was hopeful of a quick and painless free agency with the Heat this summer, but it doesn’t appear to be headed that way.
ESPN reported that initial, unofficial talks about his new contract have not gone well and he intends to be fully available to the rest of the league when free agency begins Friday. Negotiations don’t officially start until then, and there is a moratorium on signing contracts until July 7. The report said his people have reached out to a select number of unspecified teams.
The Heat likely are hoping Wade will be patient as they try to maneuver with Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside and others. They are one of six teams reported to be meeting with Durant this weekend, and Whiteside has said he wants his deal secured by the end of the day Friday.
Either way, Miami president Pat Riley made it clear last month that the team is adamant about bringing Wade back.
“When we get down to discuss it with Dwyane, it will be predicated on a lot of factors,” Riley said. “He’s a lifer. What he’s done in this city over the last 13 years is irreplaceable. We’ll do the right thing. There’s no doubt.”
Wade, 34, has played his entire 13-year career in Miami and there has rarely been much indication he is interested in leaving. He met with the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks in 2010 before bringing the Big Three together with the Heat. Contract talks got tense last summer as well, but there never seemed to be a serious threat to lure him from the Heat and he ultimately signed a one-year, $20 million deal.
He lived up to that contract with an All-Star season and an outstanding postseason. Wade played 74 games, his most since 2010-11 and averaged 19 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.