Dwyane Wade. Miami Heat. Contract negotiations.
Are you worried? I'm not here to tell you that you should or shouldn't be worried -- that's your own decision. But the truth remains that Wade has all but verbally acknowledged that they are a part on the contract and the reports are accurate. The numbers? We don't know exactly. But Dwyane Wade has the chance to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent. And he wants to be paid.
Someone will do it. But Wade is a smart player, he will make a wise decision off the court as well. And the NBA is filled with teams that can either lure Wade away to win, or lure him in with money. Maybe both.
So if Wade opts-out and decides to field offers, here's the top 5 teams that will be bidding for his services with a legit chance to keep Wade out of Miami for the remainder of his career.
Five year ago, Dwyane Wade convinced LeBron James to leave his hometown to join him for a chance for multiple championships. Now, LeBron could be extending the same invitation to Wade. With Kevin Love set to be a free agent, the Cavs could decide to give Wade that money and appease LeBron by signing his best friend in the NBA. Although that may not be likely, you never know.
Wade would have the money and a chance for a championship while playing with his buddy LeBron. Even less of a burden for Wade as Kyrie Irving would be another primary ball handler. Wade and LeBron had a nice little moment at Christmas, were they plotting to join forces in Cleveland rather than Miami? LeBron shared that he has a secret motivation this Finals...is it to get even with Wade in ring count and then join up?
All I know is that Wade is still buddy-buddy with LeBron and the Cavs nabbing Wade would be the ultimate revenge from the Heat taking LeBron in 2010.
2. L.A. Clippers
The Clippers offer a clear spot at shooting guard and the chance to play alongside his friend Chris Paul. Doc Rivers has always praised Wade, and teaming up with Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers supporting cast could elevate the Clippers to favorites in the West.
L.A. is the one city in America that could be as exciting of a place to be as Miami for a NBA player. The only issue is that the Clippers will have to let DeAndre Jordan walk if they want any chance to offer Wade a reasonable salary. If they did that, what type of team would the Clippers be as Jordan was very important to their success? Either way, Wade could slide right into that team and play freely alongside Paul and throwing lobs to Blake.
If it's truly about money, Dwyane Wade isn't going to sign with the Bulls. Chicago cannot offer Wade anything near what he is worth. But what they can offer him are two valuable things. The first is a chance to play in his hometown. Wade flirted with Chicago in 2010 and nearly signed with them before Chris Bosh decided to come down south. Wade grew up in Chicago and a chance to finish his career with the Bulls could be enticing.
The second is a chance to win a championship. Although we want to believe that the Miami Heat have a chance next year, adding Wade to the Bulls roster would offer a much more appealing opportunity. With a staring lineup of Derrick Rose, Wade, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol -- the Bulls would likely become East favorites, even over the Cavaliers.
4. L.A. Lakers
The Lakers can offer Wade a ton of money, and that's important to know. Although people say no one wants to play with Kobe Bryant, Wade created a friendship with him over their time in the Olympics. With Wade, Bryant, a #2 overall pick and Julius Randle, the Lakers would have a great start to making a final playoff run for Wade an Bryant's career, together.
The Lakers offer the same limelight that Wade had when LeBron was here. He'll be on TV, and the arena will always be sold out. It's also L.A. and I am sure his wife Gabrielle will be OK with that. It's not that compelling of a case, but it's certainly an option.
Hey, listen...the Knicks can pay Wade a lot of money and if that's truly what he wants, then New York can give it to him. He could play alongside Carmelo Anthony, the #4 draft pick and help bring some life back to the Garden.
That's about all I can say, because the Knicks aren't going to have a ton of success on the court this year, unless a Wade addition attracts some free agents to take less money to be in New York. And Derek Fisher would be his coach...come on. I don't see this as likely unless Wade really wants money, bad.
BONUS: Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban has made a splash before, and now with Rajon Rondo likely gone, there could be a chance for Wade to come in and be a contributor to a team that has a chance in the West if things happen right.
PREFERRED SCENARIO: Dwyane Wade re-signs with the Miami Heat.
The Heat need to pay Dwyane Wade, but they shouldn't have to overpay him. Wade isn't valued at $20 million/year and he should know that. That doesn't mean Pat Riley can't put together a nice 3-4 year deal to help Dwyane ease into his final years. This should work out, and they should meet in the middle.
But until it does, these are the teams that are going to try to convince Wade that he should bolt Miami and join them if he decides to opt-out.