Report: Heat and Dwyane Wade far apart in contract negotiations, which could lead to his departure

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Over the course of a Hall of Fame career, Dwyane Wade has become synonymous with the Miami Heat. He’s made 11 All-Star teams and won three titles with the franchise, winning Finals MVP in 2006. And in doing all of this for the team that drafted him, he’s become one of only a small handful of superstars of his generation who have been tied to only one franchise their entire career. That short list includes Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, Tim Duncan and the Spurs, and…well…that’s basically it.

Now, there are rumblings that the 12-year relationship between Wade and the Heat could come to an end if they can’t agree on a new contract this summer.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

The Heat and Dwyane Wade have been discussing potential resolutions of his contract situation and there’s a significant difference in what both parties believe he should be paid for the next three seasons, according to multiple sources.

Though Wade prefers to stay with the Heat, where he has spent his entire 12-year career, he is now open to considering other teams this summer if the Heat does not raise its offer, according to three sources with direct knowledge.

You can see both sides in this dispute. Wade’s health has been a question mark for several years. He’s generally been fantastic when he’s played, even with his knee problems, but he missed 20 games this season and 28 in 2013-14. The Heat, understandably, don’t want to pay him like a max-level superstar at age 33 if they can’t count on him to play close to a full season — in other words, they don’t want to find themselves in a situation like the Lakers have with Kobe Bryant, where his enormous contract is essentially paying him for what he’s done in the past, far beyond him being worth that kind of money today.

On the other side, Wade has been the face of the franchise for 12 years. Even when he agreed to take a backseat to LeBron James during the Big Three era, he was always the more popular player locally. He’s been a fixture in the community in Miami for his entire NBA career. He’s an icon there. And there’s an element of feeling like he’s sacrificed enough for the good of the team over his career. Wade has taken a pay cut on two consecutive contracts: first in 2010, in order to create the cap space to bring in James and Chris Bosh, and again last summer after James left to go back to Cleveland. The Heat maxed out Bosh to prevent him from leaving for Houston in free agency, and Wade signed a two-year, $31 million contract with a player option for 2015-16.

This summer, the Heat want to retain the same flexibility. Goran Dragic is due for a new contract, and he’s made it clear that he wants nothing less than the five-year, $100 million max deal the Heat can offer him. Considering Miami gave up two first-round picks to land him at the trade deadline, they have a high level of motivation to keep him. Going forward, Hassan Whiteside has one year left on his contract before he’s due for a massive pay raise. If he keeps up the level of production he had this season after the Heat picked him up off the scrap heap, there’s no doubt he’s going to get an eight-figure annual salary.

So that leaves Wade, understandably wanting respect from the organization he’s given so much to, but in a tricky place in his career. If he wants an upgrade over the $16.1 million player option he has next season, he might have trouble getting it on the open market. Even with the salary cap set to spike next year when the league’s new TV deal kicks in, it’s hard to see too many teams lining up to give a 33-year-old with a long injury history and declining athleticism max or near-max money. Wade, in his current state, is worth more to the Heat than he is to any other team.

It’s impossible to imagine Wade playing for a team besides the Heat — but then again, it was tough to picture Paul Pierce playing for a team besides the Celtics until he was traded to Brooklyn in 2013. Wade wants to stay in Miami and the Heat want to keep him. It’s just a matter of figuring out a number that both sides can feel good about. That could be tougher than they think.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

He said later in the interview he wants a ring, he wants “hardware” because that is needed to show you are one of the greats, and he would consider leaving the Pacers to get it. But that wasn’t a short-term thing. (Also, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor and a lot of other guys would like to talk with you about that attitude.)

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.