Dwyane Wade is reportedly less than thrilled with the way contract negotiations are going with the Heat, and he may even consider testing the market as a free agent if things don’t turn out as he may have planned.
Wade opted out of a more lucrative deal last summer, in a move intended to help the Heat create additional cap space to improve the roster to the point where Miami could reasonably expect a team built around LeBron James to head to the Finals for a fifth straight season.
Now, however, Wade wants out of his player option for next year, and would rather sign a long-term deal to gain a modicum of security as his career begins to come to a close. The problem is that the Heat aren’t seeing eye to eye with Wade on what his value should be, and the two sides seem extremely far apart at this stage of the proceedings.
A Wade associate has told people that Wade would welcome a contract averaging $20 million annually over the next three years. If that’s true, it would be understandable, considering the year 13-15 pay ranges for Duncan and Nowitzki. Wade’s agent, Henry Thomas, politely declined to confirm that or anything regarding Wade’s specific financial expectations.
We’ve heard the Heat would prefer Wade opt in for $16 million next season, then take a very significant pay cut over the following two years.
But it’s important to note that those numbers were not confirmed by the Heat, which obviously isn’t saying what it will offer when formal offers can be made July 1. And I would be surprised if the Heat didn’t make a solid offer at that time; whether it’s to Wade’s liking is another story entirely that must play out.
Wade initially said he wouldn’t opt out this summer, but obviously, things have changed.
The Heat have a difficult decision to make. When healthy, Wade is still capable of playing at an elite, All-Star level; his 21.5 points per game average last season was third in the East behind only LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. But he’s missed significant time with injuries in each of the last four seasons, and Miami has to wonder if that money Wade’s expecting shouldn’t be allocated elsewhere, especially three seasons from now.