Dwyane Wade Open To Leaving Heat

JUNE 3RD, 8:32am: Wade “would welcome” an average annual value of $20MM on a contract that covers the next three seasons, an associate of the shooting guard told Jackson, who writes in a new story. That “would welcome” verbiage seems to suggest that Wade isn’t tied to that figure, though that’s just my speculation. In any case, Thomas said his client has made no definitive decision about whether to opt out, though the Heat knows that Wade would prefer, as it stands, to opt out.

JUNE 2ND, 6:20pm: The Heat’s initial contract offer to Wade is believed to have been for under $10MM per season, Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report notes (Twitter link). This would obviously be a significant pay cut from Wade’s $15MM salary for 2014/15, and well below the amount of his $16,125,000 player option for next season.

MAY 29TH, 8:29am: Wade is likely looking for $45MM on the three-year deal he seeks, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN.com. Wade’s public displays of his friendship with LeBron James following the four-time MVP’s departure from Miami haven’t sat well with Riley, but the contract squabble is more about Wade’s desire to use his remaining leverage as a star, Wallace writes.

10:24pm: If Wade were to leave Miami, Los Angeles has been most frequently mentioned as a likely option for him, Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report tweets. As for which L.A. team Wade could look to join, Skolnick speculated that it could be whichever one had enough salary cap space to accommodate the guard. Skolnick did add the caveat that he didn’t believe Wade would ultimately end up leaving the Heat.

8:18pm: A person close to Wade indicated that the player’s representatives believe that the Heat think Wade is bluffing, and that he wouldn’t leave Miami, Jackson writes. Another associate of Wade’s pointed out that Dragic’s future is another chip that Wade holds in negotiations, because the chances of Dragic departing as a free agent this summer would increase if Wade signs elsewhere, Jackson adds.

7:30pm: Thomas spoke with Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel regarding Wade’s bargaining position. “Several guys opted out of their contract last year,” Thomas said. “Obviously Dwyane wasn’t in a position that Chris [Bosh] was in, in terms of having another team offer a maximum deal. But the reality of this is he’s played his entire career for Miami. He’s done wonderful things in terms of the five titles that they played for, winning three of them. He’s had a tremendous career, and we’re just trying to see whether or not there’s room to continue that.

4:51pm: Agent Henry Thomas said, “I am going to continue to have conversations with the Heat and try to make this work,” but wouldn’t say if Wade was leaving Miami or if his client would definitely opt out of his deal this offseason, Jackson relays (Twitter links).

MAY 28TH, 4:34pm: The Heat and guard Dwyane Wade have been discussing his contract situation and there appears to be a significant difference in what the two sides believe Wade’s next deal should be worth, multiple sources have told Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Though Wade still prefers to remain with the franchise, where he has spent his entire 12-year career, he is now open to leaving if Miami does not raise its offer, Jackson adds.

Wade had opted out of the final two years of his contract last summer which were worth approximately $41.6MM. Instead, the veteran agreed to a more team-friendly two-year, $31MM deal, which included a player option for next season worth $16.1MM. The guard did so in order to allow the team’s front office to have greater financial flexibility to improve the roster, Jackson notes. At the time, Wade indicated that he was curious to see how much he could command in the summer of 2016, when the salary cap is expected to increase dramatically, courtesy of the league’s new television deal kicking in, the Herald scribe writes.

According to Jackson’s sources, Wade’s representatives are urging him to opt out this summer and to try to secure a lucrative three-year contract that would extend past his 36th birthday, Jackson relays. But the Heat are said not to prefer this option, and want Wade to opt in for next season. The franchise would then re-sign him to a two-year deal, but not for a significant amount, Jackson adds.

Whether Wade opts out of his deal or not, there is still said to be a “sizable gap” between what Wade wants to be paid over the next three seasons and what the Heat are willing to commit to him, Jackson notes. When asked about the differences between the two sides, Wade’s agent Henry Thomas declined to comment, as did the team, the Herald scribe relays. Jackson also notes that if Wade departs it could negatively impact the team’s chances at re-signing Goran Dragic.

Wade has been the face of the Heat franchise for years, which could affect his negotiating stance with the team. But Miami is almost assuredly concerned with committing a large portion of its salary cap amount to a player with Wade’s injury history. The 33-year-old has averaged just 58 games per season the last four years, and his knees certainly aren’t getting any younger.

In 62 appearances this past season, Wade averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 31.8 minutes per contest. His career numbers are 24.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 5.9 APG. Wade’s career slash line is .490/.289/.765.

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