So, tonight at 12:01 AM, Dwyane Wade can officially resign with the Heat. I'd like to put this in the simplest of terms, just so that our expectations of this don't get too high. NO CHANCE.
Let's get this straight: No matter what happens, I am always going to be behind this team, and not one particular player. Now, I'm not trying to sell Dwyane short or anything here. The point being, that one day, be it from leaving or retiring, Dwyane won't be on this team anymore and we're still going to be Heat fans. We'll move on. So, the Miami Heat are a little (just a little) more important to me than Dwyane is. But let's also get this straight: Dwyane needs to do what's best for him. He's earned the max deal, he's earned every penny that will come his way, and he's earned the right to demand a championship caliber team be built around him. (Otherwise, he's Kevin Garnett to Pat Riley's Kevin McHale)
Dwyane will tell you that this whole situation isn't about the money. It's about winning. You can't believe that for a second. You just can't. It's ALWAYS about the money. But, it can be both.
If Dwyane were to resign tonight, the length of the contract (because it would be a three year extension worth $60 million) would total 5 years and approximately $93 million. If he waits one more year and opts out, the total money he can get from the Heat would wind up being 7 years (counting this coming season) and approximately $135 million. I mean, come on. How can he possibly resign tonight?
The whole "it's not about the money, I want to win" thing, is just so utterly ludicrous. In a year from now, let's say Pat has surrounded Dwyane with a championship caliber club (or close to it). Dwyane is happy and he's ready to resign. Well, if it's not about the money, then how about instead of signing for the $120 million, you only take, say, $90 million? Because that would help the Heat in a BIG way when it comes to the salary cap and adding talent every year. Does anyone see Dwyane taking less than the max, in order to give the Heat more flexibility? Because if it's all about the winning and not money, then that's the play he should make.
At the same time, it's why Dwyane won't be leaving. There are two teams for the Heat fan to be worried about, as far as Dwyane leaving.
1) Chicago: Right now the Bulls are committed to $40 million in salary for 2010. If the cap is as low as the NBA expects it to be, the Bulls don't have even remotely enough free space to sign Dwyane. That's why this rumored Carlos Boozer to Chicago trade is so significant. It would clear $15 million worth of cap (Hinrich and Thomas) in 2010, and open the door for signing a guy like Dwyane. That's important, so keep an eye on that.
2) New York: As it stands right now, the Knicks look like they'll only be able to lure one big free agent, not the two they were hoping for. At least Chicago can sell Dwyane on playing with Derrick Rose. The Knicks would be a rebuilding project, and it just makes no sense for Dwyane to leave and rebuild somewhere else.
Just so we're clear, I'm behind the Heat on this one, and I expect it all to work out. But Dwyane is doing what's best for him, and everyone needs to understand that. All in all, I'd be unbelievably shocked if he were to leave next year. Not quite as shocked as the Dolphins selecting Ted Ginn #9 overall. But pretty close.