NBA Free Agency: Dwyane Wade Opts Out — Will He Leave Miami?

Dwayne Wade, an 11-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion, has decided to opt out of his current deal with the Miami Heat and will become a free agent.

Wade — who was set to make $16.1 million if he decided to pick up his player-option with the Miami Heat — announced his decision through his representatives, and he’ll officially become a free agent on July 1.

It’s unclear if Wade will end up staying in Miami, but the feeling is that he is seeking a deal that would pay him $16 million over the next three seasons. So, it’s pretty clear that he still wants to be paid like an elite NBA player. During the “Big Three” era in Miami, Wade left about $27 million on the table so the Heat could afford both LeBron James and Chris Bosh, so, he now wants his sacrifice to be rewarded in his next deal.

Wade, who’s 33, and has had his issues with injuries over the past couple of seasons, said immediately following the end of the Heat’s season that he wanted to remain with the team. But, his desire to be paid like an elite player combined with his age and lack of durability could finally force the Heat to cut ties with the greatest player in the history of the franchise.

The Miami Heat front office were hoping for Dwyane Wade to opt-in to his player option, and then work with the team on a new deal next season that would give them salary cap flexibility going into the summer of 2016, where Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant will be free agents that the Heat will target.

Miami Heat President Pat Riley doesn’t want to let Wade go to another team, especially after losing LeBron James to Cleveland last summer. But, on the flip-side, Riley does want the Heat to have salary cap flexibility going forward. So, he is facing a tough decision.

Wade his spent his entire career [12 seasons] with the Miami Heat, and has said in the past that he never wants to leave the organization. However, if the Heat believe that Wade’s demands are unreasonable, it could be time to cut ties with the 11-time All-Star.

In other Miami Heat-related news, Luol Deng’s agent announced on Monday that Deng would opt in to his $10.1 million player option, so he’ll be with the team for at least one more season.

[Image via Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]