First there was THIS Kevin Durant - Dwyane Wade Gatorade commercial from a few years back, that had each player being the others nightmare.
Then Sports Illustrated putting Wade in the top 10 of the NBA and James Harden behind him, which as a result, had Durant saying it was time for D Wade to "pass the torch" already. Wade then Instagram’d his response saying he "would make him respect his place in history"
The back and forth between Wade & Durant, along with the fact that the only NBA Finals Durant was ever a part of resulted in a loss from the the Heat, suggests that KD and D-Wade would never get along. Don’t tell Pat Riley that though. If he has his way, these two wont just be getting along, but getting along…as teammates.
The money situation for Wade hasn’t been fixed but Riley will continuously be preaching the flexibility and sacrifice the face of the franchise can give, while Wade counterpoints with how much he’s sacrificed thus far and how he wants to cash in for once. Dan LeBetard of the Miami Herald and ESPN wrote THIS wonderful article the other day in regards to the current Wade/Riley dilemma
The part that stuck out to me:
Miami wants to have the flexibility that gets Riley in a room with Durant. The Heat can have room for Wade, Bosh, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Durant … but only if Wade opts in for this year and gives them that flexibility by being a free agent in 2016.
Yea. You read that possible starting five right. That's not just a five that could beat LeBron come 2016, but can actually win an NBA Championship. At that stage, Wade will be getting ready for his final year at 34. Bosh will be 32, Dragic will be 30, but Durant will be 27 and Whiteside will be 26.
To bring in an elite star of KD's status, means letting of go Luol Deng and trading Josh McRoberts for picks, while also needing the #10 pick of this years draft ready to receive the passing of the torch from D-Wade. (fingers crossed Stanley Johnson or Devin Booker)
I know all this seems like too crazy of a dream, but guess what else was? having the Big 3 in 2010.
Dwyane Wade: If D Wade opts out, and is given the 1 year $23.5 million dollar deal, he still would have to sacrifice one last time next season, but I can see him doing so, considering it's for the real chance of having Durant on your team.
Goran Dragic: The Dragon can get a maximum 5 year $116 million from Miami, but will Riley be able to convince him as well for the sake of Durant?
Chris Bosh: Bosh is getting his $23 million no matter what happens.
Hassan Whiteside: Now as great as Whiteside been this past season, I don't think he will excel at a fast enough rate to get a max contract in time for 2016. His potential is high now because it's unknown from such a small sample size from this past season. There may be a handful of bad franchises that may offer him the max, but I don't believe Riley will have to throw max money at Hassan to keep him.
Kevin Durant: Riley might bring his bag of rings and a blank check to make this happen.
Pat Riley has always attempted the big catch in Free Agency. The bigger picture is the only picture worth seeing in his eyes, and seasons are considered wastes of time if you aren't competing for a championship. Riley will probably tell his star player for the past 12 years about sacrificing one last time. because all parties involved can benefit with a championship.
For Riley and the Heat, it's not just about compensating Dwyane. but also contending with Durant. That Gatorade commercial had D Wade and KD being each others nightmare. But to Pat Riley, both of these guys are a part of his dream.
The 2016 dream.