When Dwyane Wade and the Heat appeared to hit a rough patch in free agency last summer, there never seemed to be any real threat of him leaving. This is different. There are offers on the table.
Four teams are pitching Wade according to a report on The Vertical, and their offers are substantially higher than what Miami had in mind. The Bulls, Mavericks, Nuggets and Bucks are all talking multi-year deals with salaries of at least $20 million per season, while the Heat’s first offer was $10 million.
The report said the Heat have informed Wade they will up their offer, but he remains intent on testing the market. He has taken below-maximum salaries on his last three contracts and has never been Miami’s highest-paid player.
Their negotiations became so arduous last year that it took a meeting with owner Micky Arison to reach a resolution on a one-year, $20 million contract. He lived up to that by averaging 19 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game and putting up some tremendous performances in the playoffs. It was also his healthiest season since 2010-11.
Wade is currently on vacation in Europe is expected to begin taking meetings in person next week. That might be the only encouraging aspect of this plot twist for the Heat, who are scheduled to meet with Kevin Durant on Sunday. If Miami strikes out on Durant, it should have sufficient money to meet any contract demands from Wade.
Basketball-wise, none of those situations are definitively more attractive than staying with the Heat. Dallas is the only one in that group that made the playoffs last year, and it was unable to land either of its primary free agent targets today with Hassan Whiteside and Mike Conley agreeing to re-sign with their current teams. Wade has personal ties to Chicago (his hometown) and Milwaukee (he played at Marquette), and met with the Bulls when he was a free agent in 2010.