After an abysmal showing in the NBA playoffs, Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade has a big decision to make — stay with the Bulls, opt back into free agency, or retire. Wade’s choice will have a major impact on how the Bulls’ offseason will go. He has a considerable amount of time to figure out what to do. Thus far, no decision has been made by the Bulls’ star, publicly at least.
In the wake of the Chicago Bulls being eliminated by the Boston Celtics in six games of a first-round series, Dwyane Wade was forced to ponder what comes next. Emotions were high and morale was probably down in the Bulls locker room.
Everyone involved with the team dealing with the final game of the season, a bitter 105-83 defeat (courtesy of ESPN). Catching anyone shortly after the loss would not have done any favors. The Bulls players, coaches, and training staff needed some time to decompress, and that included Dwyane Wade.
According to a report by ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell, Dwyane Wade is undecided about his future with the Bulls. Wade’s two-point performance in Game 6 against the Celtics that left a speck of doubt on his NBA future, let alone the Chicago Bulls. It was something that Wade alluded to after his exit meeting with the Bulls.
“There’s so many different variables that come into play, especially for me at this point in my career. Like I said, I have a great luxury. I don’t need to ring-chase, but I can. It’s a great luxury to have if I want to do.”
Wade came across as a player comfortable with the way his career has gone. Being a three-time NBA champion from his playing days with the Miami Heat helps. It is one of the factors that will help Wade determine what his future holds.
What the Bulls propose as their offseason plan is something else that will sway Dwyane Wade’s decision.
“Myself, Gar, Pax, once they get all their information together, in the sense of direction of where they see the organization going, and who they see as a part of it, etcetera. Just sit down and go from there. Same way you do when you decide to come and be a part of something. You sit down, you talk about it, and it’s the same way. I’m sure it will be a few weeks when they get all the information they need and they put the draft hat on, and all the other things together. At some point we will sit down and talk, and I’ll see what direction they’re going in, and then we’ll make a decision.”
Whether the Bulls trade Jimmy Butler will signal which direction the team is going in. Dealing their best player for draft picks, as some observers expect the Bulls to do, would be considered a full rebuilding project. Wade could be impacted by the trade if that is what the Bulls want to do.
In losing four consecutive games to the Boston Celtics, the Bulls were exposed as a team further away from being an Eastern Conference contender. Losing Rajon Rondo to a broken right thumb (courtesy of SB Nation) eventually did the Bulls in. But it should not have been his absence that finished the Bulls off. They did not become reliant on Rondo until the end of the season. Unfortunately, no one else stepped forward in Rondo’s place.
That includes Dwyane Wade.
Once the NBA playoffs began, everyone was hoping to see the postseason version of him. Last year in the playoffs, Wade put the Miami Heat on his back with a strong vintage performance. That performance only happened in the first three quarters of Game 5.
It is difficult to see Dwyane Wade hanging on with the Chicago Bulls as an aging NBA star. His legacy will be that of one of the greatest players in his generation. Sticking around as a player with diminished skills would damage that perception.
Dwyane Wade will eventually retire, but not after this season. It is certain that he has one more year of optimum performance left in his hall of fame career. The next question: Will Wade stay with the Chicago Bulls?
Barring a full teardown of the Bulls roster, which could and should happen, most people expect him to opt-in to his $23 million contract. If he decides to leave the Bulls, the only place that would make sense for Wade to go is back to the Miami Heat. There is no way the Heat, or any other team, is going to pay Dwyane Wade what the Bulls can pay him.
One major factor to consider is that Wade does not need the payday. But $23 million is difficult to walk away from. Most signs suggest that Dwyane Wade will return to the Chicago Bulls.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]