For nearly two weeks, the conversation has been focused on the reasons why he should take less so Pat Riley can do more versus why Wade should finally get paid after YEARS of discounts. You can say the "Heat Lifer" campaign that Wade himself started last year will meet its strongest battle this summer.
Stay or leave. Three championships because of him, or no more shots at a championship because of his contract. What we seem to be missing though is another angle not many seem to be talking about. That would be a discount instead from Goran Dragic.
Riley himself said that he wouldn't allow Dragic to leave by any means (that's the guarantee you'll get when you give up draft picks for a star) and considering how brother Zoran Dragic is already back shooting in the Heat gym, it can be assumed that Goran will be back too. It's just a matter of when. The rumor mill has already been in full swing saying the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks would be teams that would immediately flock for The Dragon's services if he and Miami can't get a deal done. Now while Goran certainly is worthy of a max contract because of the infusion of offense he brings and his prime age, it doesn't mean Wade should take a discount for the present talent of Dragic or the future investment of Hassan Whiteside.
Riley has always stressed about the bigger picture and how he's always looking to make a championship contending roster, not a playoff competing one. Can the starting five of Dragic, Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Whiteside make it to the NBA Finals? Competing against LeBron in the playoffs isn't Riley's goal. Beating him is. So while that five can hang with LeBron, it's not enough.
This is why 2016 is so important. One way to have enough space for 2016 is by having Dragic do a Heat discount, not Wade. Throughout his 12 year career, it's been Wade who has given money back and even now he will never be the highest paid Heat player on the roster with Bosh taking a max deal last summer.
Imagine yourself in Wade's shoes. Would you take a pay cut for two players that haven't even played a full season in Miami? It's one thing if you traded for Kevin Durant, Steph Curry or even LeBron James again. Instead it's a point guard who has yet to be named an NBA All-Star in his career and has limited playoff experience, and a center who isn't worth the max contract yet based off his performance in the second half of last season. Maybe Whiteside can one day be the next Alonzo Mourning just like Goran can one day possibly have the same impact Tim Hardaway once had.
At the same time, this hope shouldn't be at the cost of the franchise's greatest player possibly leaving. Riley shouldn't be asking Wade for discount but instead should approach Dragic about his own discount, for championship glory in the near future.