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


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.

LeBron James calls himself, Mike Miller and James Jones ‘The Big Three’


Two Cavaliers won a championship with LeBron James with the Heat, Mike Miller and James Jones.

Those two obviously share a bond with LeBron, because they followed him to Cleveland – and they’re not even from there.

The Cavaliers’ Eastern Conference title has only intensified their bond.

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

LeBron James wandered across the locker room holding a champagne bottle in his left hand when he wrapped each of his arms around Mike Miller and James Jones.

“The big three,” he whispered quietly before taking a swig of champagne.

Screw Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, apparently.

I get what LeBron actually meant – and I love it. I’m all for the silliest Big Three groupings possible, especially when a member of a real Big Three is the one changing the members. Paul Pierce got this started, and I hope others in addition to LeBron follow.

Jared Dudley calls Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player


Jared Dudley apparently went to the Paul Pierce school of player relations.

Not only did he say players don’t want to play with Kobe, the Bucks forward called Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player.

Dudley, on The Herd:

The reason why I say Carmelo is because Carmelo is viewed as a top-five player. He’s viewed in the NBA as a top-five.

Carmelo, he has the talent to be able to be able to facilitate – the triangle should fit him where  he’s got to make guys better, and defensively, he’s got to take the next level up.

But Carmelo, he’s got to get out. He’s got to get out of the first/second round. He’s got to get teams to the playoffs.

LeBron, with that roster, LeBron would have gotten them to the playoffs. They would have been at least the eight seed.

1. Kobe, not Melo, is the NBA’s most overrated player.

2. Melo is overrated, but the people who still consider him a top-five player are few and far between at this point.

3. It’s unfair to compare Melo to LeBron. Not matching LeBron doesn’t make Melo overrated.

Melo is overrated because, as Dudley said, Melo doesn’t do enough to make his teammates better and doesn’t play enough defense. I still think it’s possible to build a winner with Melo, but – especially considering his salary – it’s too difficult due to his limitations. He’s not the franchise-carrying player his contract and reputation imply.

Nazr Mohammed plans to play another season


The 10 oldest players to play in the NBA this season:

1. Andre Miller

2. Tim Duncan

3. Kevin Garnett

4. Vince Carter

5. Pablo Prigioni

6. Manu Ginobili

7. Nazr Mohammed

8. Jason Terry

9. Kenyon Martin

10. Paul Pierce

With Duncan, Pierce and Ginobili noncommittal about their futures, the 37-year-old Mohammed could climb the ranking next year.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Mohammed, who spent the last three seasons with the Bulls, will become a free agent this summer.

He’s a serviceable third center, though his production has slipped noticeably from even last season. At his age, it’s surely only downhill from here.

Chicago has plenty of talent in front of him with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson (and Nikola Mirotic, who takes power forward minutes that could otherwise go to one of the preceding three players). The Bulls will likely keep another big for depth, but the stability of their top bigs could afford them to use that roster spot on developing a younger player.

It’s no lock an NBA team will sign Mohammed, but he seems to be liked by teammates and coaches. It’d hardly be surprising if some team sees value in having him around on a minimum contract.

Rumor: Paul Pierce might opt out of contract with Wizards, join Clippers


After his last game in Washington, with the Wizards eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks from these playoffs, Paul Pierce sounded like a guy ready to walk away.

“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don’t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce said. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit…. I don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball anymore,” Pierce said.

But maybe he will — on the other coast with another team that just can’t quite seem to live up to its promise.

Pierce to the Clippers rumors have floated around the league for a while, and David Aldridge at brought it up in his column Monday.

Washington’s main issue is complacency. The Wizards could stand pat if Pierce decides to return to D.C. next season rather than opt out of his deal, but many around the league believe Pierce will do just that and finish his career back home in Los Angeles with the Clippers.

The point Aldridge is making is a good one: The Wizards need a long term answer at the three. Pierce enjoyed his time in the city and may, once things settle down, decide to stay put. He spoke glowingly of his teammates there and the city.

Doc Rivers had the chance to go after Pierce last summer but decided to give his full mid-level exception to Spencer Hawes instead. You can bet he’d like that one over.

And he may get the chance. One-year deal and the Clippers get some needed depth at the three and a veteran voice? At an affordable price, it makes sense.

If Pierce wants to go through one more run.