All that tension and those nightmare scenarios: false alarm. After weeks of reports of a rift between the Heat and Dwyane Wade about his future contract status, it only took until the second day of free agency for the two sides to work things out. For now, at least. As first reported by the Associated Press‘ Tim Reynolds, Wade has agreed to a one-year deal worth $20 million to stay with the only team he has ever played for.
Wade posted a video on Instagram featuring the tagline “My City, My Home, My House” and the caption “Let’s get it! #HeatNation”
Wade and his agent, Henry Thomas, both released statements about the new deal. Here’s Wade:
“It has been an honor and privilege to play with the Miami HEAT the past twelve years. The HEAT family and I have shared incredible moments over the years and I look forward to continuing our journey. I am extremely proud of my personal contributions in helping to build the HEAT franchise and for bringing three NBA championship wins to our great city. For my entire NBA career, Miami has always been my city and my home. I’m overwhelmed with the love and support the Miami community have consistently shown me and my family throughout the years.”
And here’s Thomas:
“This contract is a win-win for both Dwyane and the HEAT. Not only does Dwyane get to extend his Hall of Fame-worthy career with the only franchise for whom he has ever played, but he will have the flexibility next summer to sign an additional deal. And the HEAT gets to keep their franchise cornerstone while having the ability to build a championship-contending roster.”
This is a good compromise for both sides. It’s an improvement over the $16 million Wade was slated to make this season before he opted out of his contract, so it goes at least part of the way toward repaying the money he’s left on the table in the past two summers while the Heat’s free agency situation has been in flux. And it’s only a one-year deal, so it won’t jeopardize the Heat’s efforts to chase Kevin Durant next summer. The most likely scenario is that this one-year deal is the Heat’s way of doing right by him now, and in the future he’ll sign a longer-term deal with a smaller annual salary.
This was really the only way this could have gone. With Wade’s health problems in recent years, he wasn’t going to get this kind of money from anybody else if he tested the market, and it would have been a complete disaster for the Heat to lose the player who has been their franchise’s cornerstone for 12 years. For both Wade and the Heat, it was good to get this out of the way now and not let it linger.