Rumor: If Dwyane Wade leaves Heat in free agency, Lakers are an option

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Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are reportedly at an impasse in terms of what he should be paid on a new contract for the next three seasons.

And for the first time ever, it has Wade considering playing somewhere else.

Wade has a player option for next season valued at $16.1 million, but with his history of injury, he’d prefer to opt out in order to sign a long-term deal that would guarantee him substantially more. The team, however — perhaps wary of the notion that Wade will still be capable of producing at an elite level in the final year of a new deal — prefers, at this point, to pay him much less than he is asking.

That opened the door for Wade to weigh his options, and anytime a star-level player is potentially going to become available, the Lakers are mentioned as a possible destination.

From Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

Some Heat officials had held out hope Wade would take the Dirk, Duncan approach late in career: below-market, 1-year deals….

That was never a given. Wade made it clear when he opted out (costing himself $6M in ’14-15), he had TV windfall in mind…

If Dragic signs to #’s expected, Wade wd be 3rd-highest paid on team in 15-16. If Whiteside develops, cd be 4th/5th in 16-17….

This is a rare situation where neither side really has the leverage. Management & the player r both incredibly popular…..

Finally, if Wade went anywhere, at any point, I’ve typically heard L.A. as an option. But I still expect Heat to sort this out.

Let’s emphasize that last point, that it’s more than likely the Heat and Wade come to an amicable understanding that allows him to stay in Miami.

Now, as far as the Lakers are concerned, they have the cap space to sign a max-level player, and they are somewhat desperate to infuse star-level talent into the organization as quickly as possible.

But giving a veteran with a recent history of injury issues a high-salary, multi-year deal — even one as talented as Wade has proven to be when healthy — is suicide when trying to set the franchise up for a long-term, sustained level of success.