As a tumultuous time in Chicago threatens the Bulls’ playoff chances, offseason acquisition Dwyane Wade could return to the Miami Heat next season under the right circumstances, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.
Wade, 35, signed a two-year, $47.5 million deal with the Bulls, returning to his native Chicago and leaving a Miami team he spent his first 13 seasons with. The team also signed veteran point guard Rajon Rondo in hopes of fielding a competitive team but entering play on Sunday, the Bulls sport a disappointing 23-25 record, good for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat could acquire Wade this offseason when Chris Bosh, who’s currently medically unfit to play due to blood clots, will likely come off the team’s salary cap. Winderman adds that offseason signee Tyler Johnson’s new contract only counts for $5.9 million for next season’s salary cap, but would inflate to $19 million a year later.
Miami could free up room for Wade if he takes the $23.8 million owed to him next season and agrees to be paid over two years instead. The Heat, currently 18-30, are tied with the Orlando Magic for the second-worst record in the East but have a lot of young talent on the rise. Also, Wade’s familiarity with the team and championship experience would be a vital boost.
It would also remove Wade from a toxic environment in the Windy City.
After a recent 119-114 loss to Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Wade uncharacteristically vented his frustration about the team to the media, questioning Chicago’s passion and winning attitude.
“I don’t know if people care enough…. It just doesn’t mean enough to guys around here,” Wade said, per Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson. “And it pisses me off.”
I’m 35-years old. I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts these young guys. They have to want it. I can look at Jimmy and say Jimmy is doing his job. I think Jimmy can look at me and say Dwyane is doing his job. I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”
Bulls’ young superstar Jimm Butler joined Wade in criticizing the team, saying the effort from his teammates isn’t there every night.
“We don’t play hard enough,” Butler said. “This is your job. I want to play with guys who care.”
Wade and Butler’s comments were met with a lengthy Instagram post from Rondo, who has been a source of drama for the Bulls all year. After a tough start, Chicago benched the former NBA champion and he has struggled to receive consistent playing time since.
A member of the 2008 Boston Celtics team that won an NBA championship, Rondo played alongside future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it,” Rondo wrote as part of the lengthy post. “They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game.
My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn't pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn't take days off. My vets didn't care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn't blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn't have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn't change the plan because it didn't work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can't win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don't deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it's the leadership.
A photo posted by Rajon Rondo (@rajonrondo) on
“My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”
This has prompted Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to be tougher on his players. As Bulls forward Taj Gibson explained, Hoiberg wants to hold the players more accountable.
“His message was, ‘I’m going to hold you guys more accountable,” Gibson said. “I give you guys a lot of leeway because I care about you and I understand how hard it is to be an NBA player and to go home at night with so much on your back. I was there. I’ve been there. But now I have to do a better job.’ And I can respect that.”
However, if Wade is not satisfied with how the team progresses, he will have options — whether it be the trade deadline or the offseason.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]