So much for the Miami Heat’s near immediate rebuild to championship caliber in the wake of LeBron James’ departure.
According to multiple sources close to the process, Dwyane Wade and the team remain far apart in contract negotiations that would render his player option for 2015-2016 moot. The discrepancy is reportedly so large, in fact, that the “Heat lifer” is prepared to resume his career elsewhere.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has details on this surprising turn of events.
The Heat and Dwyane Wade have been discussing potential resolutions of his contract situation and there’s a significant difference in what both parties believe he should be paid for the next three seasons, according to multiple sources.
Though Wade prefers to stay with the Heat, where he has spent his entire 12-year career, he is now open to considering other teams this summer if the Heat does not raise its offer, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
Wade signed a two-year, $31 million deal with Miami last summer after opting out of his original contract early in the process so Pat Riley could surround he, James, and Chris Bosh with quality free agents. Though he always had a $16.1 million player option for next season, most assumed he’d simply exercise it – or swiftly come to new terms with the only franchise he’s ever known at the very least.
While this latest momentum is indeed stunning, it also bears mentioning that the offseason is marked by similar posturing from players and teams throughout the league. It’s still extremely early in this process for Wade and Miami, basically, giving no reason for either to blink.
His agent, Henry Thomas, essentially told the Herald as much.
“With the amount of time he has spent with the organization, every effort will be made to try to work something out,” Thomas said. “The five times he played for a championship, resulting in three championships, is a significant accomplishment for any professional. We are continuing to talk about a resolution that would be satisfactory to both sides.”
Is Wade angry with the Heat’s offer?
“I am going to continue to have conversations with the Heat and try to make this work,” Thomas responded.
Thomas declined to speculate how he believes this will turn out. “We will continue to talk. It’s relativity early in the process.”
The 33-year-old is coming off a very solid campaign, one in which he averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game on 47.0 percent shooting. Wade even flashed the vintage form on occasion that first spurred him to superstardom in the mid-2000s. His recent problem, of course, has been an inability to stay on the floor, and the three-time champion did little to dispel those concerns in 2014-2015 by missing 20 games and playing hobbled for many more.
It certainly wouldn’t shock if Wade ultimately chooses to play out his current contract and enter the free agency fray next summer. The salary cap will rise to approximately $90 million before 2016-2017, and a player at this stage of his career would be smart to take advantage of that financial boom. But there’s also the chance Wade plays himself out of an eight-figure salary next season if further injury forces him to miss a large chunk of the schedule.
There’s no easy answer for he or Miami here, which is exactly why its smart to begin the negotiations now. Neither side wants to draw this out deep in to summer. And until free agency officially opens in July, there’s simply no real reason to believe Wade will be playing for a team other than the Heat next season.