I am going to preface this so Heat fans don't get in an uproar. The odds of Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat splitting apart after a successful 12 year marriage are slim to none. In fact if I were a betting man I would put money on that transaction. But nothing in this business is ever absolute.
The operative word being business.
For all the talk speak athletes and front office executives in our fantasy world we all live in called sports that's fed to fans, the reality is there is always a true bigger picture when you open up the veil of the dirtiness and nastiness of the back and forth between employee and employer. The elephant in the room no ones wants to talk about is there is still that slim chance Miami and Wade do not see eye to eye in ongoing negotiations in the next 4 weeks and Wade ultimately decides to opt out and look at other viable options for himself and his family. While that proposition is a scary and uncomfortable one, it's a truth we do have to face should that narrative ring true.
Let's just be honest here. The Miami Heat cannot afford to lose Dwyane Wade. It's just that simple. For as disappointing as last summer was when LeBron James blindedsided Pat Riley and the Miami front office in deciding to return for a second stint in Cleveland, for all of LeBron's greatness and contributions he brought to South Florida during his 4 years stint in a Heat uniform, he's largely looked at among most in the market as a mercenary. For Wade, he is the very DNA that makes up the championship fiber the Miami Heat have displayed in the basketball community since 2006.
A Wade exit could have devastating and catastrophic effects and it's not just cause of solely Dwyane's presence on the franchise. Wade leaving most likely would effect the decision G Goran Dragic, who Miami gave up two 1st round picks for in it's mid-season trade around the All-Star Break makes in his soon to be free-agency soiree come July 1st. Dragic has been very definitive in not only wanting to remain in Miami long term but also having Dwayne Wade as part of the package as one the most appealing reasons why. It would also create a public relations disaster to the positive image the Miami Heat have carefully created for years. The Heat can't afford to create a negative domino effect which could ultimate leave negative residue on the rest of the current and even the future free agency market.
The Miami Heat, specifically since 1995 have been a franchise thats was built on family, trust and loyalty, spearheaded by owner Micky Arison and President Pat Riley. While those very things are true, another truth is that the Heat are also built on smart business. It's understandable from the front office perspective to question whether to not only to pay a substantial dollar amount on a player that while is still very good when available, isn't able to give you 70 plus games a season and all signs point to continued deterioratation as the years roll on. The same franchise that last season following James departure took on Wade's slogan "Heat Lifer" and "Heat Nation" and turned it into a war cry of defiance last season than unfortunately ended in disappointing fashion.
On Wade's end this recent negotiation snag is likely all about whats owed and doing what's right by him. It's shocking to think that after 12 years, Dwyane Wade has never been the highest paid player on this Heat franchise at any point of his career here. This is a guy who had arguably one of the greatest single player performances in NBA Finals history in 2006, a guy who orchestrated one of the biggest sports coups in history by luring LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Miami and has at many times or another been considered a top 3-5 player in the league at the peak of his powers. Surely you'd assume the Miami Heat would want to reward past accomplishments and show thankfulness for all he's done considering he's unarguably the greatest player in franchise history and arguably the greatest athlete in South Florida sports history. To put it succinctly, Wade in his opinion has done enough sacrificing for the Miami Heat franchise and wants to be taken care of as such or as they say on the streets, "get his".
Ultimately this battle comes down to value and not just though a dollar figure. These next few weeks will test the resolve of the Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat relationship to it's very core.
How much does the Miami Heat truly value Dwayne Wade in 2015? That answer hopefully we all get answered much sooner than later.