You can credit the Chicago Bulls for trying, but in the end everyone knew there was only one team Dwyane Wade was going to sign with as a free agent this summer: the Miami Heat.
Dwyane Wade took to Twitter to make the announcement that Flash would be sticking with the team that drafted him back in 2003, a team that he’s won three NBA championships with:
— THREE (@DwyaneWade) July 15, 2014
Originally reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Wade will sign a long-term contract with the Heat. It was expected to be in the range of four years, $60 million, but AP’s Tim Reynolds is reporting it will be a two-year deal with a second year option.
With Dwyane Wade, sources say it is a two-year deal with a player option for next season. Expect about $16-17M in salary this coming year. — Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) July 15, 2014
After opting out of the final two years of his contract and leaving $42 million on the table, Wade was hoping the move would convince LeBron James and Chris Bosh to do the same and take less money to stay together. Unfortunately for him and the Heat, LeBron chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers and if it hadn’t been for a five-year max offer from Pat Riley, Bosh would have bolted for the Houston Rockets.
The Heat have retooled about as well as one could expect by adding Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger while also re-signing Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers. Locking down Wade is a loyalty move that ensures the face of the franchise is rewarded for everything he’s given Miami in his 11 seasons.
Despite the emphasis on the downfall of Wade and his knees, Flash will still be an effective player next season. Though he spent a good portion of the season resting and only played 54 games in 2013-14, Wade still averaged 19 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting a career high 54.5 percent from the field. He also played a career low in minutes per game (32.9).
I’ve gone back and forth on the Heat so much. Bosh and Deng are still really, really good. Wade regular season was great. And Spo.
— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) July 14, 2014
Wade fell apart during the 2014 NBA Finals, averaging 15.2 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting. In a pivotal Game 4 of the series, Wade finished with 10 points on an abysmal 3-of-13 shooting. In the closeout Game 5, Wade put up 11 points on 33 percent shooting.
However, the Miami Heat without Dwyane Wade would have been a weird and ugly finish to the Big Three era. Wade is, by all calculations, one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. By taking an $8 million pay cut, Wade helped free up money to give his buddy Bosh that max extension and keep Miami competitive in an Eastern Conference that is wide open. The deal also gives the team flexibility in 2016 because of its length and the second-year option.