Forget about any possibility of Dwyane Wade continuing his career in China next season, tweets Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Wade still hasn’t made a final decision on whether to keep playing, but if he does it will be in Miami.
“Heat only,” Wade said today in an appearance at the Jr. NBA World Championships in Orlando. “If I play the game of basketball this year it will be in a Miami uniform. If I don’t I’ll be living in Miami or somewhere else probably.”
Wade reportedly received a three-year, $25MM offer last month to join the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association. He’s a well-known figure in China and visited the nation in July for the announcement of a lifetime contract with Li-Ning, a Chinese apparel company.
Wade’s insistence to play in Miami is consistent with his reaction when the Cavaliers traded him to the Heat in February. After spending his first 13 NBA seasons in South Florida, Wade left in 2016 over a salary dispute, but never seemed comfortable in Chicago or Cleveland. He averaged 12.0 PPG in 21 contests after returning to Miami last season and helped the Heat reach the playoffs.
There are rumors that Wade wants at least some of the team’s $5.34MM taxpayer mid-level exception before he’ll agree to re-sign. The Heat are already in luxury-tax territory and would prefer to have Wade return on a veteran’s minimum deal that would pay him $2.4MM.
Wade also told reporters he doesn’t see any urgency to make a decision soon, although team president Pat Riley recently said he expects to a decision by mid-August.
The Heat have 13 players under contract, in addition to a pair of two-way players, with two spots being kept open for Wade and Udonis Haslem, who also hasn’t decided whether to continue his NBA career. Miami already has a crowded backcourt, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel, with Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder already in place and Dion Waiters returning from ankle surgery.
“As much as I would love to be back, you got so many different things that you look at, that I have to look at,” Wade said. “My teammates have been great. The young guys, you want to be there for them, but, also, you want to play. So it’s a lot of different things that come into play there. But, ultimately, no matter what happens, I’m a Lifer, Miami Heat for life.”