For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Dwyane Wade is saying in this Chicago Tribune story about his future. He has a player option for next season with the Chicago Bulls, is 35 years old and says he has a number in his head (it’s not 69) for when he wants to retire.
This is clearly a case of Wade answering questions he was asked, so let’s not make it out like he’s leaking things about his future, but what is he saying here? The Bulls are a young, middling team that is in a dogfight for the final playoff spot in the East and the right to lose to the Cavs in the first round, so will this season decide if he comes back to the Bulls?
“Yeah, listen, I wouldn’t lie to you and say no. Of course,” Wade said following the morning shootaround at Amway Center. “I can’t play this game forever. I just turned 35 and I have a number in my head on how long I want to play. And at the end of the day you want to be in a situation, whether it’s a competitive situation or whatever it may be.
“It’s tough in this league, as well because a lot of it also depends on how much money you’re willing to make. It depends on what city you’re willing to be in. So it’s a lot of variables to that. But no question about it, what happens throughout this year as I go into my summer, I’ll definitely take a look at it. I take my career seriously, and where I am, where I want to be, and I will do the same thing this summer.”
OK, so Wade doesn’t want to spend his final seasons in the NBA barely clinging to playoff life, so the three-time champion wants one more ring?
“I mean I wasn’t willing to do that now. Not at all, not at this point. That’s what I meant. In the sense that when you’re a veteran guy, you’re older, some guys have taken those sacrifices. David West last year, he gave all of his money back to San Antonio. That’s something that he wanted to do. He wanted to put himself in position to win a ring.
“I have three. I’ve been in five Finals. So I don’t need to that. But it is a time where you want to be on a team that can compete too, so it’s just a fine line between what you really want. This summer that’s not what I wanted.”
So he doesn’t want to be on a bad team. And doesn’t want to take less money to make one last championship run. So he wants decent money to be on a team that could win a title but probably won’t unless it’s a super team? Because that’s not the Bulls now and they may not be that next year either.
It seems like if Wade doesn’t see improvement from the Bulls over the second half, he’s going to look elsewhere. Maybe. Or maybe not. Or maybe the number he has in his head is 36 and this will be his last season. Probably not though. He could take a huge pay cut to go to Cleveland. Then again, he says he didn’t want to do that because of all the rings.
It’s fair to say not even Wade knows what he wants right now.