Now that Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls have reached a buyout agreement, the former Miami Heat guard will have a whirlwind day or two trying to figure where to play this season.
All eyes are on a handful of teams, including the one where he spent his first 13 seasons.
But are the Miami Heat the best fit for Wade?
Wade, 35, is looking for two things: Playing time and a chance to compete for a fourth title.
With those as the overwhelming factors, the Heat likely will be on the outside looking in.
First, of the reported teams on Wade’s list – Miami, Cleveland, San Antonio and possibly Oklahoma City – the Heat are the farthest from a title.
“I’m going to take (Sunday night and some of (Monday) and speak to the teams or players that are on my list and go from there,” he told the AP. “My decision is a pure basketball decision and I’ll make the one that fits me best at this point in my career, and with what I feel I have to offer a team that needs what I have to offer.”
Wade averaged 18.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 60 games with the Bulls last season. So he still has something left to contribute whether as a starter or in a reduced role off the bench.
The Cavaliers clearly remain one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference and to most the favorite to return to the Finals for a fourth straight season. The Spurs and Thunder are positioned to possibly challenge the Warriors out West, but are not in as good a position in their conference as the Cavs are in the East.
The Heat? Despite bringing back virtually every key player from their 30-11 finish a year ago, Miami’s ceiling appears to be sneaking into the top half the Eastern Conference and grabbing home court for the first round of the playoffs. Realistically, the Heat are looking at a No. 5 or 6 seed.
And although Miami is fourth among those four teams, Wade might have more difficulty finding minutes in Miami than he would on any of the other teams.
The Heat are loaded in the backcourt with Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters as the starters and a group that includes Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder all competing for minutes.
Even without Wade, many are wondering how coach Erik Spoelstra is going to find playing time for everyone.
Wade would fit into the roster of any of the other teams with much more ease, but none as easily as Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are entering the season with JR Smith and Iman Shumpert at shooting guard. Sign Wade and he immediately moves into the starting lineup and is reunited with his buddy, LeBron James.
San Antonio’s starter at shooting guard is Danny Green and Manu Ginobili is its sixth man. Even if he didn’t start, Wade would find his way into the rotation. Although Andre Roberson is the starter in OKC, the issue would be personnel. Although Wade would be in the mix to start or be a sixth man, by acquiring Carmelo Anthony over the weekend OKC now has three of the top 10 isolation players in the league to go along with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. There just would not be enough basketballs to make Wade happy.
The only check mark for the Heat is money, but that will be the last priority for Wade.
Wade is giving back approximately $8 million for his freedom, but that still leaves him with a $15.8 million paycheck from the Bulls this season. Miami can offer Wade its $4.3 million exception, but he still can make $3.3 million from the Spurs, $2.5 million from the Cavs and $2.3 million from the Thunder, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Add it all up and it’s probably not enough for Wade to bring his career full circle and return to Miami.
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