JULY 9TH, 4:57pm: The deal is official, the Heat announced in a press release. “For over a decade, Dwyane has embodied what it means to wear the Miami Heat uniform,” said Riley. “He has been the pillar and constant of this organization, and is a true champion in every sense of the word. We are thrilled that Dwyane has re-signed and will lead us as we look to win another NBA Championship.”
JULY 2ND, 5:03pm: The Heat and Dwyane Wade have reached an agreement on a new contract, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports (Twitter link). It will be a one-year, $20MM arrangement, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays (on Twitter). The deal is less than the max, which for Wade would be roughly equivalent to 35% of the salary cap, likely at least $22MM, but it will be the highest annual salary of his career.
Wade released a statement regarding his return to Miami (h/t Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald). “It has been an honor and privilege to play with the Miami HEAT the past twelve years,” Wade said in the statement. “The Heat family and I have shared incredible moments over the years and I look forward to continuing our journey. I am extremely proud of my personal contributions in helping to build the Heat franchise and for bringing three NBA championship wins to our great city. For my entire NBA career, Miami has always been my city and my home. I’m overwhelmed with the love and support the Miami community have consistently shown me and my family throughout the years.”
Henry Thomas, Wade’s agent, had this to say about the deal: “This contract is a win-win for both Dwyane and the Heat. Not only does Dwyane get to extend his Hall of Fame-worthy career with the only franchise for whom he has ever played, but he will have the flexibility next summer to sign an additional deal. And the Heat gets to keep their franchise cornerstone while having the ability to build a championship-contending roster.”
The 33-year-old had opted out of his contract for 2015/16, which would have paid Wade $16.125MM. The Heat had reportedly preferred that Wade opt in and sign for $10MM salaries next summer. A friend of Wade’s had noted that the guard didn’t feel that the team regarded him as a priority. Team president Pat Riley spoke highly of Wade, saying in part that, “We love Dwyane. Dwyane is a pillar.” Now it would appear that the franchise icon will have the opportunity to finish his career in Miami.
Miami will use its Bird Rights on Wade to complete the deal, which is poised to send the Heat, who have also agreed to sign Goran Dragic for five years and $90MM, deep into luxury tax territory. The Heat entered July with about $53MM in guaranteed salary already on the books, with the tax line projected to come in at about $82MM. Heat president Pat Riley is scheduled to meet with LaMarcus Aldridge tonight, but without cap flexibility and likely without the capability of engineering a sign-and-trade, Wade’s deal only furthers the notion that Aldridge is a long shot to come to Miami.
Wade has been limited by injuries the past few seasons, and appeared in 62 games for Miami last season, averaging 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 31.8 minutes per contest. His career numbers through 781 regular season games are 24.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 5.9 APG, with a slash line of .490/.289/.765.