The Lakers and Dwyane Wade have mutual interest, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com, citing league sources (Twitter link). Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald previously reported that associates of Wade had identified the Lakers as a strong alternative if the Heat and its long-tenured shooting guard can’t come to terms (Twitter link), and it appears that the Lakers would like to take Wade up on the idea. Many execs nonetheless see Wade’s push for more than the Heat are willing to give as saber rattling, Mannix hears, pointing out in a second tweet that it’s difficult to envision the Lakers providing Wade with a better chance to win than he has in Miami. However, the Lakers have the cap flexibility necessary to give the Henry Thomas client the $20MM salaries that he’s apparently eyeing on a three-year deal.
Wade, who has a $16.125MM player option for next season and has hinted that he’ll opt out, is open to leaving the Heat, who’d prefer he opt in, as Jackson reported last month. A friend of Wade’s told Jackson that the Heat, if he won’t opt in, would like him to sign a deal worth $16MM next season and $10MM in each of the next two.
The Lakers have only about $35MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap. They wouldn’t have enough left over to sign Wade to the sort of salary he’s looking for if they land another marquee target, like LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love, without making some sort of salary-clearing trade. Presumably Wade, at 33 and with persistent knee concerns, is farther down the list of would-be targets, though the Lakers are also reportedly likely to chase Heat backcourt mate Goran Dragic, who’d be more likely to leave Miami if Wade does, as Jackson reported. The Heat are planning a five-year offer worth more than $80MM that’s less than the max for Dragic.
Wade’s father, who went as far as to appear in public wearing a Cavs T-shirt, has dropped vague hints that the Heat star is ready to leave Miami, as Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com observes, though Wade himself, at least at the time of Jackson’s initial report last month, prefers to stay in Miami, all things being equal. We invited Hoops Rumors readers to discuss the issue as part of a recent Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround.