While Dwyane Wade is expected to open the regular season with the Bulls, a buyout remains a strong possibility at some point during the league year. Asked today during an appearance on WSCR 670 AM in Chicago about that possibility, Bulls executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson reiterated that the club is willing to discuss a buyout with Wade.
“We’ve talked to his representatives,” Paxson said, per Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.com (Twitter link). “[Bulls GM] Gar [Forman]‘s been on the phone with his guy several times in the last few weeks. So some dialogue is going on. We haven’t heard directly from Dwyane. But we understand where he is at this time of his career. We’re more than willing to work with him.”
Although Paxson stressed that the rebuilding Bulls are happy to work something out with the veteran guard, he also repeated a sentiment he expressed in June — in order a buyout to get done, it would have to be advantageous for the Bulls.
“It can’t be something the player wins because that’s what he wants. We have to do what’s in our best interest,” Paxson said. “We want to work with Dwyane because we respect [him] very much. If he doesn’t want to be here, then we want to do [a buyout]. But again, the bottom line is always – and it has to be – that we have to do what’s in our best interest.”
The Bulls remain well below the salary floor at this point, so it’s not as if the club needs to save money in negotiations with Wade in order to put that money toward another signing. However, as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune notes (via Twitter), if Wade gives a certain amount of his salary back, it could allow the Bulls to re-sign Nikola Mirotic and still have enough cap space to go out and acquire an unwanted contract in a trade, getting a young player or a pick as a sweetener for their willingness to take on salary.
Wade is currently on track to earn $23.8MM in 2017/18. We’ll see whether he’s open to giving up a significant portion of that money to hit the free agent market sooner rather than later, or if he’s happy to play out the majority of the season in Chicago, eventually forcing the team’s hand.