Like LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade has an opt-out clause in his contract, which he can invoke in the coming offseason. However, unlike James and Bosh, who are still on top of their games, Wade has been hounded by injuries over the past two years.
While Wade has not decided on what direction to take, let us take a look at the top five destinations for him next season:
The Wizards have a dilemma this offseason, as two of their top 2014 contributors will become free agents: Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. Here’s how Grantland’s Zach Lowe sees it, via BulletsForever.com back on May 19, 2014:
“The Wiz may need to retain Bird rights on Gortat and Ariza so they can outbid suitors who would offer those players the midlevel exception. That wouldn’t preclude Washington from going under the cap. The Wiz could keep Gortat and Ariza on their books unsigned, talk to Bosh/Melo-level players, and then renounce Gortat and Ariza if they strike an informal deal with one of the stars.”
Dwyane Wade is one of those Bosh/Melo level players out there in the free agency, but why would he be the target of the Wizards?
If the Wizards are to choose between Gortat and Ariza, they would most likely choose Gortat because he’s a solid presence in their locker room. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Trevor Ariza, but it’s harder to find a center like Gortat than a three-point shooting wingman like Ariza.
Also, the Wizards pay Martell Webster and Otto Porter a total salary of $9.8 million. Ariza would fetch $10 million, for a total of $20 million, for the three spot. Ariza is a premier defender, but he has limited ball handling skills. Washington needs a big name All-Star to push their young stars to the next level.
That All-Star could be Dwyane Wade. Sure, Bradley Beal owns the two guard spot in Washington, but Wade can be a mentor to both Beal and John Wall. As a rookie in 2011, Wall was thrilled to meet Wade. As reported by the WashingtonPost.com back on March 30, 2011, Wall said:
“He plays bigger than what his position is. He plays above the rim and is fast. I want to learn how he stayed off the floor in the beginning his first couple of years.”
Wade no longer plays above the rim, but he still plays bigger than his position. Wade’s championship experience would help Wall and Beal grow into the most talented backcourt in the league. Forget about the starting job, the Wizards have around $20 million in cap money to pay Wade.
In that 2011 encounter, Wade said this of John Wall, via that same WashingtonPost.com report:
“He’s one of the good young players in our game. Has the potential to be great. We would want that. We would want him to be great.”
If he goes to the Nation’s capital, Wade would be personally there to see to it that Wall achieves that greatness.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping that LeBron James returns via free agency, but it wouldn’t be too bad if they settled for the number two guy in Miami.
“My sources tell me that the Cavs have had no doubts about offering Irving the 5-year deal, and will do so. Once July 1 arrives — the first date that an extension can be offered — the Cavs will set up a meeting with Irving. They will present their All-Star guard with a contract extension, a 5-year deal in the $90 million range (or whatever is the maximum number).”
With that done, the next task would be to surround him with talent. The Cavs won the lottery and will pick first. Given that they have young big men like Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson, the Cavs could very well choose Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is a can’t miss prospect who would replace the free agent Luol Deng in the three spot. Once Deng leaves, the cap hold of $19 million on his salary will be free for the Cavs to use.
And Cleveland would be wise to use it on Dwyane Wade. While the Cavs are still waiting for Dion Waiters to emerge as a star, Wade could partner with Irving in the backcourt and help develop the young star on and off the court. In a report by BleacherReport.com on June 8, 2014, Cleveland is a little wary about Kyrie:
“Yes, Irving is an exceptionally talented offensive player whose handle and shot give him the ability to score and create few can match. But Cleveland still can’t be sure about his makeup, leadership skills or commitment to defense, which are things you’d probably like your most important (and richest) franchise pillar to provide.”
Wade, who was once the franchise player in Miami, could teach Irving all those intangibles, while at the same time; the former 2006 Finals MVP could mentor Waiters. When Wiggins hits town, Wade could be his big brother, like he was to LeBron in Miami. On the court, the Cavs were 22nd in the NBA in scoring, and Wade would certainly change that.
Cleveland has the talent, and Dwyane has the championship experience. He would teach the young guns the Way of the Wade.
Kobe Bryant will be playing the final two years of his career starting next season. He said that he wants to win badly, and he wants an accelerated rebuilding. According to LakersNation.com back on March 23, 2014, Bryant said this:
“We’re all moving in the same direction. This organization is just not going to take a nosedive. But I think we need to accelerate it a little bit, for selfish reasons. Because I want to win, and I want to win next season.”
For him to win, he needs a lot of help. The Lakers have all the cap money to spend on LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in the coming offseason, but we all know that Kobe is an Alpha Male. It would be a tough balancing act for the new coach to referee between James/Melo and Kobe. Even Hollywood may not be big enough to fit any two of those huge egos. So it’s best to stick to one, and that is Bryant.
That being said, the perfect target would be a marquee player who can play alongside Kobe, and none is more qualified than Dwyane Wade. Wade has proven to be able to yield control of a team to a better and bigger star. There is no reason he couldn’t do that again in Los Angeles.
Wade could provide the offense that would ease the pressure off an aging Kobe Bryant. He would be a terrific second option for the Lakers and would also open up the floor for Pau Gasol to operate. Heck, Wade certainly can still run if Steve Nash can still run. Wade would also provide the Lakers the much needed offensive continuity that they’ve lacked over the last few years when Bryant wasn’t on the floor.
If Wade gets on board and Gasol re-signs, Kobe’s wish to win next season might become a reality. It might not necessarily be winning the NBA title, but at least it could mean winning the crown of LA’s best basketball team.
Just like the talk of LeBron ending his career in Cleveland, there is talk that Wade may want to end his career in the place where he was born – Chicago. In a report by the IBTimes.com back on January 29, 2104, it said:
“Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade could consider opting out of his contract this summer, leaving the possibility of the flash possible alliance with his hometown team – the Chicago Bulls next season.”
Chicago’s primary free agent target is supposedly Carmelo Anthony. Melo would give the Bulls scoring and an All-Star presence, but Dwyane Wade can also give both, although not as much scoring as Melo.
That being said, Wade has something that Melo doesn’t, and it’s what this Bulls teams wants to have: an NBA championship ring. And yes, Wade is supposed to be the hometown hero, and bringing him home would bring in a lot of ticket and merchandise sales.
The Bulls are looking to amnesty Carlos Boozer to create significant cap space. They would also have to deal Mike Dunleavy to increase that cap space. This can be done, and with the possibility of getting Wade, the Bulls will get this done.
Playing Wade alongside the returning Derrick Rose would be a dream for Chicago. They haven’t had an All-Star two guard since Michael Jordan retired. Also, the Bulls currently have no depth at the two guard position with only Jimmy Butler and Ronnie Brewer. Even a 32-year old Dwyane Wade would be considered an upgrade for the Bulls.
When the Bulls lost to the Wizards in the playoffs this past season, it was obvious that they lacked scoring. The Bulls were dead last in the league in that department during the regular season. Wade’s scoring would eliminate that issue.
The Bulls are ripe for a title run, but they seemed to be lacking one piece last season. Wade could be that missing piece this time around.
Miami Heat President and General Manager Pat Riley will not be forgiven if Dwyane Wade ends his career in another uniform. Wade has been the face of the franchise since their first championship in 2006. It was only when LeBron James arrived that he turned over the crown to the King. It was a selfless act that got him two more NBA titles. It was an act that Heat fans will never forget. Hence, it would be a disaster if Miami let Wade walk away in free agency.
Wade had said that he will huddle up with James and Bosh before they decide on what to do next. Most probably, they’ll re-up for four more years in Miami. Like James and Bosh, Miami is the best place for Wade because it’s where his best chances of winning are. The Big Three will still be the best 1-2-3 punch in the NBA.
There isn’t much to be said of Wade staying in Miami because it is the most logical choice. Wade started his career there. He made a name for himself there. He won three titles there. It’s nearly impossible to fathom seeing him wear another jersey next season. Miami basketball is synonymous to LeBron James, but the Heat franchise comes along with Dywane Wade’s name. They can’t be torn apart.
If by chance either James or Bosh (or both) leaves Miami, there is little chance that Wade will, but just as he was able to convince both to come to Miami in 2010, he would be the unifying force again in 2014. If the three decide to give it one more run, expect the Heat to bounce back with a vengeance next season.