After protracted contract negotiations that eventually went sour this summer, Dwyane Wade did the unthinkable and left Miami to sign with his hometown team the Chicago Bulls. The fact that Heat brass weren’t willing to pony up after Wade took multiple pay cuts to help make ends meets over the years was a big reason for his move.
Before signing with the Bulls, there was a great deal of speculation about where he might end up, and Wade has since confirmed that he briefly considered re-joining his pal LeBron James in Cleveland, but ultimately opted against it because he didn’t believe it was the right fit.
LeBron, for his part, was conspicuously silent during the whole ordeal, but now says that he definitely would’ve welcomed Wade into the fold, if only the Cavs would’ve had the financial flexibility to do so. Via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:
“We couldn’t afford him,” James said. “It’s that simple.”
Wade signed a two-year deal with Chicago in the offseason worth about $47 million. The Cavs, well above the cap with a star-studded core of James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson all signed to long-term deals, could have offered Wade only the taxpayer midlevel exception, worth about $3.5 million.
Wade has previously implied that his decision to leave Miami was more about feeling disrespected by the organization than any specific monetary figure, yet has also claimed that he didn’t feel an urgent need to try and chase another ring. He’s acknowledged that a championship with the Bulls is unrealistic in the immediate future, so we’ll have to take him at his word that signing with Chicago was primarily about the chance to return home.