The sheer genius in the creation of Miami Heat's "Big 3" may have caused its undoing. In the beginning LeBron James said: "Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7....And when I say it, I really believe it." But then the CBA created punitive luxury taxes to derail the buying of another "super-team."
Wade coined the term "Heat Lifer", but several things have happened since then to potentially abort his fulfilling that promise.
The reality of punitive taxes on exceeding the cap space multiple times becomes too harsh for most NBA owners to justify. The CBA deliberately made luxury taxes to institute team parity not to have the same teams in the NBA Finals every year. This year's record-setting TV ratings validated the concept.
The Heat could not have foreseen the monster impact Hassan Whiteside would have on the Heat's future plans and their mid-season acquisition Goran Dragic opting out to seek doubling his salary. Chris Bosh's massive deal signed last summer to prevent him from joining the Houston Rockets has Wade being the one getting caught bumping his head against the salary cap.
The "Hollywood As Hell" theme of his wedding last year with Gabrielle Union set the wheels in motion that there is indeed a future outside of Miami. That itself was a clue of what was to happen later.
His wife's world revolves around the Los Angeles and New York City axis, rather than Miami. We all know that LeBron James' wife referred to Cleveland as "Home Sweet Home," before he bolted from Miami.
Wade's wife is a rare commodity in the NBA community, where the wives are usually relatively unknown women placing their husband's careers first. One exception is supermodel Adriana Lima, who married Marko Jaric in 2009. They split up in 2014 after she famously posted on Instagram, "Quote of the day: He offered her the world. She said she had her own."
Lately Wade has been seen on ABC developing his on-air presence before a national audience. Little doubt that Union is helping him polish his skills for future use.
He even went to Harvard for a four-day seminar in media and public relations. That further shows his commitment to doing "big things," as he said to LeBron, after his basketball days are over.
Wade is a known trendsetter in fashion, and what better place to expand his empire than New York City or Los Angeles? Both of those cities allow him to be in constant contact with the movers and shakers of the fashion world.
Pat Riley's legendary rival Phil Jackson would score a coup by luring Wade to the Knicks.
By his own admission, LeBron James would have remained with the Heat if the team had defeated the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Last season the Heat finished with a losing record, missed the playoffs, and were completely shut out of Executive and Coach of the Year voting. Maybe Wade is having second thoughts on the Heat's future direction.
Phil Jackson is positioning himself for the 2016 Executive of the Year nod if he manages to build a playoff team from a lottery team around Carmelo Anthony, Wade, another All-Star that Wade would recruit for the former coaching great, and a top 4 draft pick.. Perhaps Wade knows Kevin Durant will not go to Miami, so a relocation now is a preemptive move.
Jackson would like nothing more than to snatch Miami's own favorite son from the jaws of the Godfather himself. Towards that end Jackson gutted the Knicks team last season. For 2015, according to Spotrac, they have only five active players with $33 million in contract money. In contrast, the Heat have 15 active players with $82 million tied up in contracts. Jackson has the flexibility to wheel and deal, while Riley's team is in an apparent financial bind trying to keep their starting five intact, while also wanting to improve their bench.
Another potential destination is the Los Angeles Clippers, where Wade would teach Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan what it takes to win a championship. Team owner Steve Ballmer, who is worth $22 billion, will not settle for another near miss in the post-season after paying $2 billion for the franchise. Union, who feels right at home in L.A., might sell Wade on L.A.'s balmy winters and joining three other All-Stars. The "Hollywood As Hell" theme would become a reality.
Wade's game is not in style in today's NBA, with the current emphasis on 3-point shooting. He never perfected that tool, to his detriment. The slashing, going to the rack style may not be seen to be as valuable as it was a decade ago. It diminishes his market value and usefulness to the Heat -- and they said as much with their reported first contract offer.
Unfortunately some fans have openly questioned his basketball abilities at this stage in his life, even after a solid campaign last season. With the Heat's meager offer, Wade could be wondering to himself, what's the point of staying in Miami if his contributions are not fully valued?
If he doesn't get paid appropriately for his All-Star seasons in Miami, he could take his game and leadership skills to a team that gives him what he thinks he deserves.