NBA rumors are in full swing now that free agency has begun. One of the biggest names still on the market, Dwyane Wade, may be close to signing a new contract, and it probably won’t be with the Miami Heat.
According to the Denver Post, Wade and representatives from the Denver Nuggets met earlier today, and the Nuggets have reportedly offered Wade the two-year, $50 million deal he has been seeking.
Dwyane Wade was originally planning to remain with the Heat, according to reports, but he was upset with the team for seemingly having higher priorities in free agency, specifically, the re-signing of free agent center Hassan Whiteside, and the Heat’s efforts to lure superstar forward Kevin Durant to Miami (Durant ultimately signed with the Golden State Warriors).
The Heat previously made a two-year offer to Wade for $40 million, but Wade has made it clear he feels he is worth $25 million annually, which the Heat currently can’t afford due to salary cap restrictions.
The Denver Nuggets have a large amount of cap space and appear eager to acquire Wade at his asking price. The Sun Sentinel has reported that Dwyane Wade had a two-and-a-half hour meeting with Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke, general manager Tim Connelly, and head coach Michael Malone in New York City. If this is truly about money for Wade, Denver is the only team he is considering who can offer him the contract he desires.
Dwyane Wade is meeting with the Nuggets, Bucks & Bulls today before one last meeting with the Heat. Could he leave? https://t.co/49Kn20yxxl— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) July 6, 2016
The Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls are also in play for Wade’s services. Neither team can offer the star guard the type of money he wants, but they are doing their best to sell him on the idea of joining their respective teams.
Milwaukee swingman Khris Middleton has reached out to Wade as has Bucks head coach (and former NBA great), Jason Kidd. Bulls players Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo have supposedly lobbied for Wade to sign with Chicago. Dwyane Wade does have ties to both the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. He played his college basketball in Milwaukee, and Wade is a Chicago native.
Dwyane Wade has three NBA Championships under his belt, so his current free agency status appears to be focused more on money than on winning. Interestingly, Wade has never been the highest-paid player on any team he has played for after 13 seasons in the NBA. This is apparently one more factor that is contributing to Dwyane Wade’s overall feeling of being underappreciated.
Sources Say Relationship Between Dwyane Wade and Heat Is ‘Fracturing’: https://t.co/DmWnw01NlG— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) July 6, 2016
Dwyane Wade was the 5th overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft after a stellar college career at Marquette University. Wade has been a highly-productive player during his career, as well as a consistent one. Wade has averaged an impressive 23.7 points per game for his career, peaking at 30.2 points per contest in 2008-09. He has been named to 12 consecutive NBA All-Star teams, beginning in 2004.
At age 34, Wade has played a staggering 30,560 minutes of NBA basketball, so there is a great deal of mileage on his body (not to mention his mental state) after going through the rigors of playing 855 games at the highest level of basketball. This is a concern for any team looking to invest heavily in the six-foot-four combo guard, but based on last season, Dwyane Wade appears to have plenty of gas left in the tank.
In 2015-16, Wade played in 74 of the Heat’s 82 regular season games, averaging over 30 minutes of playing time per game. He posted 19.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per night, showing that he is still a force in the NBA after 13 years in the league.
Whether Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the only team he has played for in the NBA, or jump ship to begin a new legacy elsewhere remains to be seen. Either way, the 2016 free agency journey of Dwyane Wade has been filled with a great deal of drama and anticipation.
Which team do you think will end up signing Dwyane Wade?
[Photo by Alan Diaz/AP Images]