Breathe a little.
I know it feels like Biscayne Blvd is on fire because there's a chance the face of the franchise might no longer be the face, but take a step back with me and let's observe whats happening and all the options going forward.
Here's what we know from each side:
Dwyane Wade's camp:
Wade has never been the highest-paid player on the team. From Eddie Jones, to Shaquille O'Neal, to Jermaine O'Neal, to LeBron James. He's always been the one sacrificing for the good of the team. There will be handful of regular season games he will be out but he's played 86 of 87 playoff games in the past four years. So that means he will always be available when it matters most.
Many have compared this situation to the Kobe Bryant deal, but I believe no one in Wade's camp wants is demanding that much money. Money that would handicap the team until he retires. So let go of that notion. Shaq came here because of him. So did LeBron and Chris Bosh. That's three championships. Wade wants to be appreciated for what he's done and be protected no matter what happens in these next three years.
Pat Riley and the Miami Heat
This team is all about flexibility. Because honestly, ask yourself this question. With a core of Hassan Whiteside, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Dwyane Wade, and Goran Dragic, is it enough to land in the NBA Finals? Because I don't think that five can beat Cleveland. Which brings me to the next point: Dragic has yet to receive a contract and Whiteside is a year away from receiving a major one.
The potential of Dragic leaving is high if Wade isn't here to play with, and Whiteside has the potential to be a cornerstone big man, the one that Riley covets. If the Heat are a player away from contending a championship in 2016 (Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis) would Riley risk that by paying Wade now? Also Wade is already 33 years old. He isn't elite anymore.
There's only 2 options to resolve this issue:
1) Riley call Wade's bluff and and dares him to find any other team that will pay him $15 million. but Wade then feels disrespected by the move and leaves Miami as a result. Which would then have just about every member of Heat Nation jumping off rooftops.
2) The Heat offer him a 3-year, $60 million deal or even higher that will limit your flexibility for 2016.
So the questions are: How much is Wade worth and who gives in first?
The Heat were hoping that Wade would take the Dirk and Duncan discount. Instead he just wants an honorable contract to play out the rest of his career. This isn't a Wade vs Riley face off. Both of these guys are loved by the Miami public. This is extremely early in the off-season and even agent Henry Thomas has told reporters that he is still trying to find a solution that has Wade STAYING WITH THE HEAT.
Was this expected? Nope, because there's now a glaring chance Miami's star backcourt might not be there. But if there is someone you trust to work this all out, it's Pat Riley. My belief is that Wade will stay. He simply means too much to the community and franchise and you have to pay him.