Dwyane Wade talks about his future with Heat and LeBron James’ decision

Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat watches his shot in the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Two of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoff at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Heat defeated the 76ers 113-103. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade and LeBron James enter the offseason with uncertain basketball futures.

Wade has to decide whether he will retire or return for a 16th NBA season and James is entering a summer that could include a lot of changes. Those decisions will come later this offseason, but Wade spoke about both situations during a Sunday appearance on Fox Sports Radio’s show featuring Chris Mannix and Caron Butler.

After the Cavaliers were swept by the Warriors in the Finals, James will have an opportunity over the next few weeks to decide if he wants to stay in Cleveland or move elsewhere. The 14-time All-Star will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if he opts out of a $35.6 million player option in his current contract with the Cavaliers for next season.

“To me, I don’t think it’s a basketball thing,” said Wade, who is James’ close friend and former teammate. “Obviously, you saw this year he can get to the Finals no matter what the circumstances are. I don’t really think the basketball decision of saying, ‘Oh, let me go team up with three All-Stars.’ I think at this point in his life, it’s more so of a lifestyle thing of where my family is going to be the most comfortable and where I’m going to be the most happiest at. Because basketball wise, he’s so great that he can bring along and take along whoever.”

According to multiple Las Vegas sports books and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the Heat will be one of the teams in the mix for James. Smith said this week the 14-time All-Star will “have a conversation” with seven teams this offseason: the Cavaliers, Warriors, Celtics, Sixers, Lakers, Rockets and Heat.

If Wade is right and James’ decision is not purely about basketball, that could help Miami because the Heat currently don’t have the cap space to surround James with multiple All-Stars.

The Heat are already close to the luxury tax line with 10 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due $119 million. That puts Miami way above the projected $101 million salary cap and very close to the projected $123 million luxury tax line, and not even in a position to sign a max player like James unless it can shed a lot of salary.

As for Wade, he’s still unsure if he will play this upcoming season. But he’s sure that if he does decide to continue his career, he wants it to be with the Heat.

“If I decide to come back and play the game of basketball, I would love for it, obviously, to be in Miami,” Wade said to Mannix and Butler. “It’s just crazy because in this league you never know what will happen. I never thought I would leave Miami. Caron [Butler] knows that I thought I would be here forever, but things happen.”

That comment isn’t surprising, as Wade has made it clear that he doesn’t plan on leaving the Heat again after returning to Miami in February. The Cavaliers traded Wade to the Heat on Feb. 8.

The 36-year-old Wade, who spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career with the Heat before leaving in the summer of 2016 and returning earlier this year, showed in the playoffs that he can still play at a surprisingly high level. He averaged 16.6 points on 44.3 percent shooting in the postseason and looked like the Heat’s best player at times.

Does Wade wonder what could have been if he would have stayed with the Cavaliers and had the opportunity to play in the Finals? James recently said he believes Wade could have helped Cleveland in the championship series.

“It definitely crossed my mind because I signed with Cleveland for that exact reason, to compete in the championship,” Wade said. “I didn’t sign in Cleveland for 82 games in the regular season. I signed with them so I can be there in the playoffs and be a part of the winning and success and try to take down one of the greatest teams of all time. I wanted to be a part of it. So it definitely crossed my mind.”

But that’s in the past. If Wade continues his playing career, he wants it to be with the Heat.

What can Miami offer Wade as it hovers around the luxury tax? Likely just a minimum contract or the exception it gets — either the $5.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception or the $8.8 million mid-level exception.

“At this point for me, man, I’m sitting here and I’m thinking and contemplating on playing the game of basketball,” Wade said. “My only vision as I sit here today is in a Miami Heat uniform.”

[LeBron James will reportedly speak with Heat this summer. Here’s what James had to say about his uncertain future]

[Eric Glass continues rise as Miami Heat’s summer-league coach]

[What will LeBron James be looking for this offseason? ‘A group of talent’ and ‘a group of minds’ to compete with Golden State]

[Does LeBron James wish the Cavaliers still had Dwyane Wade? ‘Oh, absolutely’]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Reader Comments 0

0 comments