Dwyane Wade Is Giving the Heat An Easy Out, Which They Should Take
Since being Drafted No. 5 overall by the Heat in 2003, superstar Dwyane Wade has played all 12 seasons of his NBA career in Miami. Over that time he’s won three championships and been named and All-Star 11 times.
After playing with LeBron James and Chris Bosh as part of the Heat’s famed (or infamous) “Big Three” for four seasons, last offseason Wade graciously agreed to opt out of the final two years of his bloated contract, which would have paid him over $40 million, in order to make room to re-sign James, who had become a free agent.
Even if they were unable to keep James, and obviously they weren’t, the move gave president Pat Riley some much needed financial flexibility in trying to fill out his roster. And it worked too, they were able to outbid the Rockets and retain the services of Bosh. Wade agreed to a two-year deal worth $31 million, with the option to opt out following the 2014-15 season.
Wade did the generous thing last year, likely assuming the Heat would do the generous thing this year. But with D-Wade having turned 33 earlier this year, and his game on the decline since the 2011-12 season, it doesn’t seem like Riley is any hurry to settle up with Miami’s rapidly fading star.
Though it might not be a move that is popular with fans, in terms of dollars and cents, Wade doesn’t deserve the money he was set to make before he re-negotiated last season—he doesn’t even deserve the money he made as a result. The Heat finished 10th out of 15 in a lowly Eastern Conference, failing to make the playoffs.
Last year Wade said he “was curious to see what he would command in the summer of 2016, when the cap is expected to skyrocket from $67 million to $89 million,” that per the Miami Herald. A statement that led some within the organization that he would be content to play out the final year of his contract.
That does not seem to be the case, and according to sources close to the situation, there is currently a “sizable gap” between the worth each side believes Wade brings to the organization at this point. He has until late June to make the decision of whether or not he wants to opt out of a guaranteed $16.1 million for the upcoming season, or take his chances on the open market.
Because so few players spend their entire career with one team these says, surely there will be fans clamoring for the Heat to pony up and take care of Wade, in the name of loyalty. There’s something to be said for loyalty—it’s generally overrated in sports. Especially in the case of D-Wade, who already has more money than God.
If Riley is really as smart as he thinks he is, he’ll let Wade opt out and test the waters. Either he’ll learn a harsh lesson about value and the Heat can re-sign at a reasonable rate, or the Knicks will decide to triple his salary and lock him up for 10 years.
Either way, the Heat win.