Dwyane Wade intends to pick up his $16.125MM player option for next season, as the Heat star confirmed today to reporters, including Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). It’s no shock, given Wade’s longstanding ties to the Heat, though the 33-year-old is set to pass up the chance to lock in more money spread over a longer period of time and capitalize on a season in which he finished 11th in the NBA in scoring average.
Wade’s 21.5 points per game this season, just 0.2 shy of Klay Thompson for 10th among league leaders, stopped a streak of five straight years in which his PPG had declined. The 12th-year veteran carried a heavier load with LeBron James having returned to Cleveland and Chris Bosh out for the second half of the season with blood clots in his lungs. He missed 20 games, and he’s not the slasher he once was, taking a lower percentage of his shots from within 3 feet than in any season in his career, as Basketball-Reference shows. Wade was less efficient, with a 21.4 PER that was his lowest since his rookie season. That still makes him much more efficient than most, however.
The Heat would have about $59MM in commitments against a projected $67.4MM salary cap for next season if Wade indeed opts in, so the team wouldn’t be able to open significant cap room to replace Goran Dragic if he were to bolt. Wade doesn’t plan on making a recruiting push to keep the point guard, but Dragic, who confirmed today that he’ll opt out, has nonetheless made it seem as though the Heat are well out in front as they bid to retain him.