For most of the past 15 years, he was the face of the Miami Heat, that one player many felt was instantly identifiable with the team, even during recent years when he played for the Chicago Bulls, then the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now it appears Dwyane Wade could be headed to China, where he might begin the next phase of his professional basketball career like many ex-NBA players have in the past.
Earlier on Saturday, Sportando reported that Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) team Xinjiang Flying Tigers are interested in signing the 36-year-old Wade to a “monster” deal. Financial details of the supposed transaction were not disclosed, but CBS Sports wrote that the rumors of the offer swirled just as Wade signed a lifetime contract with Chinese shoe brand Li-Ning, and continued his tour of the country.
At the moment, it remains unclear whether Dwyane Wade will choose to play in China or not. The Associated Press wrote earlier this week that Wade, who is an unrestricted free agent, has been in talks with the Miami Heat and is deliberating on whether he should rejoin the team or not after finishing the 2017-18 season with the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2003. For the meantime, Wade plans to wait until he returns to the U.S. before making his final decision.
“Right now, I’m focused on the game after basketball,” Wade told the Associated Press.
“Whatever happens in basketball, it happens. I’ve done everything that I can to this point to put myself that I’m in this position I am today, where I can do something that hasn’t been done globally yet. The basketball will take care of itself. I’ll sit down and figure that out once I get back from this tour at some point.”
Splitting time last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, Wade averaged 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game in a reserve role. These were mostly career lows for the 15-year veteran, who played in 12 NBA All-Star Games and led the league in scoring in 2008-09 with an average of 30.2 points per game.
If Dwyane Wade takes his talents to China and plays for Xinjiang in the coming CBA season, he will join a slew of former NBA players who have suited up in the league, mostly to extend their pro basketball careers after receiving little to no interest from other NBA teams. As noted by ESPN in a 2017 report, Stephon Marbury was arguably the most famous example of an ex-NBA star making good in China, as the country has since paid tribute to him through a museum, statue, and postage stamp. Likewise, other American players such as Carlos Boozer, Jimmer Fredette, and Andray Blatche enjoyed success in the CBA after they made the jump from the NBA.