While most NBA observers didn’t believe Dwyane Wade would leave the Heat in free agency, Denver seemed like a particularly far-fetched landing spot for the former Finals MVP. When rumors surfaced in July suggesting Wade and the Nuggets were having serious talks, it was viewed by many as a leverage play. However, as he prepares to take on the Nuggets as a member of the Bulls, Wade tells Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter links) that he seriously considered signing with the team.
“We had a lot of discussions toward the end. And it came down to Denver and Chicago,” Wade said. “I chose to go back home, but definitely was something that I didn’t go into free agency thinking was a possibility. They did an unbelievable job of recruiting me. The first call I got was from them on July 1.”
Wade acknowledged that the Nuggets were an unlikely home for him, one that he hadn’t considered at all prior to his free agency. However, he also pointed out that no one anticipated he would leave Miami for Chicago either, adding that unexpected things happen in free agency when you’re making major decisions about your future. As Dempsey notes (via Twitter), Wade was impressed by the “family atmosphere” within the Nuggets’ organization, and suggested that it should help the franchise land a marquee free agent in the future.
“I think they have a lot to sell, and I thought they did a great job for me,” Wade said. “They’ve got a lot of young talent here as well. As a free agent you never know where you’re going to go, what kind of free agent is going to come help the team with these young guys and kind of veteran guys. I know they’re not going to stop working, but I know they’re looking for the right person as well to come here and not just get anyone.”
The Nuggets currently have about $58MM on their books for 2017/18, not counting Danilo Gallinari‘s player option, so they should have plenty of flexibility to make a run at another free agent or two in the summer if they choose.
Check out Dempsey’s full piece at The Post for more quotes from Wade on the Nuggets and head coach Michael Malone.