But Wade – by opting out of a contract that had two years remaining and signing a new two-year deal for less money – gave up $10,694,000 in guaranteed salary without gaining any future flexibility.
LeBron adviser Maverick Carter, via Real Talk with Jason Whitlock:
LeBron and D-Wade are totally fine, speak almost daily or every other day.
They’re totally fine. They’ll be friends for life. Their friendship goes beyond basketball and is bigger than basketball, so they’ll be friends for life.
This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart, and we didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything.
If he asks our opinion or what do we think about the pros and the cons and think through it, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.
Listen, LeBron is a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn’t need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you’re not going to be able push him either way.
We’ll help him think through things and then kind of help him see through things. Then, he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I’m not the one who has to show up and play games for any team.
LeBron clearly made his own decision, but I’m also sure he listened to those he trusted. Including them in the process was also his decision.
If they were steering him in a different direction, maybe this process would have played out differently.
But, as Carter tells it, LeBron went to Cleveland on his own and remains close with Wade. Carter’s job is to paint LeBron in the best light, but best I can tell, that probably just meant telling the truth in this case.