LAS VEGAS — Next to Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, the biggest shock of the offseason was Dwyane Wade‘s decision to leave the Miami Heat, a franchise he’s as synonymous with as Kobe Bryant was with the Lakers. Wade signed a two-year, $47 million deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls after talks broke down with the Heat. But the Bulls weren’t the only team Wade would have considered joining, according to his close friend Carmelo Anthony.
On Wednesday, after practice with Team USA in Las Vegas, Anthony revealed that the Knicks had “a chance” to sign Wade, if only the timing had been a little better.
“We would have had to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” Anthony admitted. “If it was two days earlier, we probably would have had D-Wade.”
The math on signing Wade would have been tricky for New York, especially since center Joakim Noah agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal on the first night of free agency, when the assumption around the league was still that Wade would ultimately find himself back in Miami.
Following Noah’s signing, the Knicks locked up guard Courtney Lee to a four-year deal worth $50 million, backup point guard Brandon Jennings on a one-year, $5 million deal and re-signed forward Lance Thomas for a deal that starts around $6.1 million for next season. They also signed European prospects Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas to contracts above the minimum. If they had made none of those deals, they could have come close to approximating the deal the Bulls gave Wade.
For Wade, the appeal of playing with Anthony in New York would have been obvious. Along with LeBron James and Chris Paul, they are one half of the famous “Banana Boat Squad.” Their families are close, and they’ve vacationed together. Earlier this season, James hinted that at some point in his career, he would like to play with the rest of that group. Wade joining forces with Anthony would have made that dream much closer to a reality, although the complete group joining together would have likely required all four taking a pay cut at some point.
As it is, though, Wade is 34 years old and the Knicks largely made smart signings of younger players with more upside. Wade would have been a splashier name than anyone they acquired in free agency, but he would have been an awkward fit with Derrick Rose, and the Knicks were ultimately better off filling out the roster with their cap space instead of pooling it all to sign one player past his prime who wouldn’t have gotten them closer to contending for a title in the near future.
But it’s still fun to think about, and Anthony obviously wishes it had worked out that way.