Dwyane Wade feels misled by the Bulls and hasn’t talked with anyone from the front office for two months, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. Those strained feelings have led to rumors of an impending buyout and the possibility that Wade might be headed to Cleveland, Los Angeles or Miami.
Sources tell Kennedy that Wade asked management for assurances that Chicago would have a competitive team next season before deciding to opt in for $23.8MM. The front office promised him it would, so Wade announced June 21 that he will stay for another year. The next day, the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves and signaled the start of a rebuilding process.
At 35, Wade doesn’t have a lot of years left in the league and he doesn’t want to waste a season playing for a lottery team. Kennedy states Wade’s only discussions with the organization since the deal were with coach Fred Hoiberg and didn’t involve anything related to the team.
Several recent stories in the national media have been negative toward Wade, which Kennedy speculates is the Bulls’ way of angering him so he might be willing to accept less in a buyout just to get out of Chicago. A recent report from ESPN suggested the Bulls’ younger players don’t like having Wade as a teammate. A Fox Sports story claimed Wade and Butler had a strained relationship, which Butler denies.
Even if a breakup is imminent, all public comments from the Bulls’ front office have indicated Wade is staying with the team. Kennedy adds that Wade is preparing to report to training camp if a buyout doesn’t happen in the next three weeks.
A source tells Kennedy the Cavaliers and Heat are the most likely destinations for Wade once a buyout is completed. If he does go to Cleveland, he will probably become a starter, with J.R. Smith being moved to a reserve role. The Cavs see a Wade addition as a way to improve their roster and appease LeBron James before he enters free agency next summer.
Wade recently took his children out of school in Chicago and moved them back to Miami, but Kennedy warns not to read too much into the move. Wade and Heat president Pat Riley have barely communicated since their 2016 breakup, and Wade wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot in Miami. Other teams, such as the Nuggets and Bucks, who both tried to sign Wade last summer, could also get involved.