The news is still sinking in as it still seems a bit foreign to the dedicated NBA fan. Dwayne Wade who for 13 years wore a Miami Heat jersey will now be donning a Chicago Bulls one. After a contentious contract negotiation with the Heat, Wade opted to play for his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls.
Wade has agreed to a two-year deal worth $47 million, according to the Associated Press.
Wade had his fair share of suitors including the Milwaukee Bucks, who were in it until the final minutes before his decision was made, but many expected Wade and the Heat to ultimately come to some sort of resolution to keep him in South Beach.
“This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice,” Wade said in a letter released to The Associated Press.
“Watching the Bulls growing up inspired me at an early age to pursue my dream of becoming a basketball player,” Wade wrote. “My most treasured memories were watching my dad play basketball on the courts of Fermi Elementary School and developing my game at the Blue Island Recreation Center. I have never forgotten where I came from, and I am thankful to have an opportunity to play for the team that first fueled my love of the game.”
And although Wade enjoyed immense success in Miami, their departure was anything but peaceful.
“Miami dared a very proud man to go home, and that man’s best friend [LeBron James] just won a title by going home,” a source close to the process told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Miami apparently insulted Wade the past few offseasons, with this one driving the longtime star away from the franchise seemingly for good. And while it’s fair to criticize the Heat for taking a perceived disrespectful approach to their negotiations with Wade, they made the right move.
And so did the Chicago Bulls.
The fact is that Wade is 34 years old and closer to a steep decline in his career than an exciting ascension. Wade isn’t there yet, but 34 year old players don’t often maintain their high level of play for many years.
The Heat looked bad doing so, but they did what was right; they moved on from a player that was closer to the end of his career than the beginning and seeking a pretty penny to continue on that journey.
Was Wade worth his contract? It depends on whose perspective you choose to take.
If you take Wade’s perspective who was seeking a sort of reimbursement from Miami for all the contract relief he provided them over the years, than yes he was worth every penny of what he was asking for.
But if your the Heat why would you pay Wade a premium for what was done in the past and not for what he is likely to bring in the future? It doesn’t make sense. It’s better to come in with an offer to show good faith, one you know Wade will reject and walk away from the table knowing you respected the process enough to try but didn’t respect enough to try and win.
The Heat never sat down at the negotiation table to win, they wanted to lose.
The Bulls threw a lot of money at Wade to come “home” to Chicago and while it may seem contradictory for me to applaud the Heat for not over-paying and applaud the Bulls for doing just that, these are two separate situations.
Wade is better than what Derrick Rose has been to the Bulls the past few years and the though of Wade paired with an assist-machine like Rajon Rondo in the Bulls backcourt is exciting.
Sure the Bulls lost Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose this offseason, but they gained two players (Rondo and Wade) who have won championships, worked in successful offenses and fit the Bulls of today much rather than Noah and Rose did since the days of Tom Thibodeau.
Additionally, Chicago can embrace Wade as the hometown kid and rally behind him, helping Bulls fans divorce themselves from the days of Noah/Rose and fall in love with the new direction.
Adding Wade, a respected veteran, will immensely help the development of players like Jimmy Butler, and it will also give the Bulls a competitive edge in the playoffs that they did not possess before, sans Pau Gasol, leaders who know how to win championships.
Dwayne Wade’s signing may indicate that there was a winner and a lose to the process (maybe Milwaukee sees themselves as the losers) but from where I’m sitting, I see Chicago and Miami both raising the victory flag.