Dwyane Wade Talks Free Agency
At 32 years of age, Miami HEAT guard Dwyane Wade is likely going to get his last big money contract this offseason – assuming that he exercises his early termination option to become an unrestricted free agent. Miami is the only organization he knows; they drafted him in 2003 and since then he’s helped guide them to three championships and counting. He has close relationships with head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley, who will head up negotiations, making it very unlikely that he goes anywhere this summer.
“I want to be here,” Wade said to David Aldridge of NBA.com. “I think that’s always the things I’ve always said and I’ve always expressed. And after that, I want to win. I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m starting over and I’m rebuilding. I want to win. And I want to be on a team that has an opportunity to do that, and feel like I’m a big part of that. This is where I want to be. But as players, [having] options is good. Because you don’t know what is to happen or what is to come. So for us, I think we’re in a great situation. Guys have options as players, and they can exercise those options. Who knows what that means? But right now, for us, we’re on a very good team. We enjoy each other. We enjoy this city and we enjoy playing for this organization, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
The big question is whether Wade will continue to be a part of the Big Three. Both LeBron James and Chris Bosh have the ability to become unrestricted free agents if they desire, but Wade says they haven’t talked about what they will do collectively yet.
“I don’t know, man,” Wade said. “I haven’t wrapped my brain around all of that yet. It’s too much. The new CBA, the things we can do, and what kind of sacrifices. When that time comes, you’ll sit down with the ones you trust to give you advice, and lay it all out on the table, and you’ll go from there, and see what’s best for you at that time.”
It’s going to be interesting to see whether the HEAT try to get a “hometown” discount from Wade, who is regularly troubled by injuries, or if he seeks another near-max deal. He certainly couldn’t be faulted for asking for one, based on the impact he’s had for the franchise. Take away Hall-of-Fame worthy numbers, Wade is the reason why the Big Three reside in Miami. Without him, there is no James or Bosh. He was the key to it all coming together four years ago and he could end up being the key again.
Wade has missed 15 games this season and for the fifth consecutive season his scoring average has dipped. However, Wade is playing with the best efficiency of his career, shooting 55 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. He’s coming off of a particularly strong month of February in which he averaged 21 points on a remarkable 60 percent shooting to go along with 5.6 rebounds a game and 5.5 assists. He’s getting stronger as the season goes on, proving that he’s still one of the best in the league when healthy.
“When I’m feeling at my best, I can do the things I want on the court,” Wade said. “My strengths have always been my ability to penetrate, to finish, to find guys and just draw the defense and make things happen from there. When I’m at my best, you can tell. I’m in the paint a lot, I’m active, and then I start mixing in my outside game. It’s a good feeling. A lot of people don’t understand that hasn’t went through injuries, as players going through it now, that we understand it. You’re not as healthy as you once was. You take it for granted. But now, I don’t take it for granted. Some nights, I feel amazing. Some nights, I don’t. But I still get out on the court and try to do my job. My job now is different than it ever has been, but I try to do my job every night on the court.
“All I know is I play a team sport, and I’m a team player. As much as I love putting the ball in the basket, but I also love seeing success for my teammates. Understanding that with this group, to succeed the way we want to succeed, certain players on certain nights have to take a back seat. Even though my back seat is so much different from a Udonis Haslem’s back seat. Someone who I respect tremendously, who’s been with me here since day one. Look at the back seat he has to take. And my back seat is different. So I don’t complain about mine. I just go out there and I just try to figure it out. Some nights I get a chance get in the passenger seat. Maybe the driver’s seat. [Laughs.] But I just want to be in the car and help this team win.”
If Wade continues to play at his current level and helps lead the HEAT to another championship, there won’t be much negotiating when it comes to his contract. A hometown discount will be out of the question, because there will likely be other teams in the market trying to pluck him away. As we’ve seen, a healthy Wade is a dominant Wade.
A Look Around the League
Here’s a look at the latest news and rumblings from around the NBA.
- Caron Butler will be making his Oklahoma City Thunder debut Tuesday evening against the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler joined the Thunder instead of the Miami HEAT after being bought out by the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler will provide the Thunder with a veteran swingman capable of guarding both perimeter positions and a well-rounded offensive arsenal.
- The Brooklyn Nets have signed Jason Collins to a second 10-day contract. Collins, a blue collar big man who does the little things like setting good screens, boxing out and playing good help defense, became the most high-profile 10-day contract signing ever because he’s the first openly gay player to play in the four major professional sports. The Nets are expected to sign him for the rest of the season at the end of this second 10-day deal. Collins has played in four contests for an average of 8.5 minutes, averaging 0.8 points and one rebound.
- Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Houston Rockets guard James Harden were named the NBA Players of the Week this week.
- Miami HEAT head coach Erik Spoelstra and Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale were named the NBA Coaches of the Month.
- Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni gave bleak reports over the statuses of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash today, telling reporters that he doubts Nash plays again this season and that Bryant has still not been cleared by doctors with just six weeks remaining in the regular season.
- Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving avoids major injury, suffers right heel contusion
- Pacers’ Myles Turner: ‘I build Legos, I’ve gone through 120K Legos since the season started’
- Pistons, Spurs, and Wizards are a combined 1-48 in their last 49 games
- Victor Wembanyama 1st NBA player with 350+ points, 50+ assists, 25+ steals, & 50+ blocks in 1st 20 games
- Lakers coach Darvin Ham suggests that NBA should increase prize money for In-Season Tournament champs
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